You are here:

Pasifika The Arts

Have fun as you explore arts of the Pacific.

Wacky weaving

Weaving is a traditional craft used to by Pasifika people to make decorative and useful things. Tipani has found instructions to help you to make a woven fish or flower.

  • Read the instructions found in the following School Journals.
    • Mahi harakeke – working with flax, by Jossie Kaa, School Journal, part 3, number 2, 1988
    • Making putiputi School Journal, part 4, number 1, 1999.
  • Gather some flax (harakeke).
  • Follow the weaving instructions.
  • Take a digital photo of your weaving.

Traditional dancing

Tipani has been showing Ed and Wiki some traditional dances from Pacific nations.

  • Check out the following dances:
  • Insert an image of a dancer (it could be you or someone else) into a Paint program.
  • Select and name one traditional dance then draw the correct costume on your dancer.

Ceremonial greetings

Ceremonies are a traditional part of Pasifika gatherings. Create a PowerPoint to teach Ed different Pacific nation greetings he can use at specific festivals.

  • Read about different greetings in these Pasifika languages:
  • Next, open Festivals in the South Pacific and read about different ceremonies.
  • Use PowerPoint to create a slideshow (minimum of five pages). Each page must include a:
    • greeting
    • country
    • ceremony.
  •  Add in sound and visual effects!

Pacific sounds

  • Listen to some of these music samples from:
  • Compare these with some of the modern sounds by Che Fu.
  • Make a list of five sounds which Che Fu uses which are similar to those you hear from the Pacific nations.

Skilful siapo

Siapo, sometimes called tapa cloth, is a traditional Pasifika cloth made from the bark of the mulberry tree. It is often used in ceremonies and special occasions. Tipani wants to teach Ed and Wiki how to make siapo.

  • Open the siapo making website and watch the video on how siapo is made and decorated.
  • Write a set of simple instructions on how to make siapo.
  • Design a traditional siapo pattern in a Paint program. Look at for ideas.

Te whakatere i ngā moutere o te Moana–Nui–ā–Kiwa

I ngā tau mano kua pahure ake nei, i muia ngā moutere o te Moana-Nui-ā-Kiwa e ngā momo iwi tāngata katoa. Ko ngā mahi toi o ngā kai para huarahi me ngā waka hoe ahurei i hangaia e rātau, te tino take e pā ana ki te nohonohotanga o ngā moutere nei.

  • Tākarohia tēnei kēmu whakatere ki te haerere i ngā motu o te Moana–nui–ā–Kiwa.
  • Huakina mai tō papakēmu, ka rau ki tō kōpae mahi.
  • Tirohia ēnei pae whakaata ki te rapu kōrero mō te whakatere me te hoe i ngā waka toru, hei rau ki tō kēmu.

Patterns over time

Traditional Pasifika art forms provide inspiration for artists who like to highlight the culture and heritage of Pasifika while using modern media.

  • Look at Kava: An exhibition by Sione Francis and view the slide show where artist Sione Francis explains his theme of past and present
  • Read about four more contemporary artists and look at their artwork carefully.
  • Write a review for your local paper. Comment on:
    • how the past has been reflected in their works – the materials they have used
    • images they are trying to create
    • modern issues that indigenous Pasifika peoples face.

Pacific legend

Legends are stories which may have started with a grain of truth and have been exaggerated and retold until they have passed into the realm of fiction. They are about mythical or supernatural beings or events. Retell or re-enact the legend of Kupe as a digital story, video, or PowerPoint.

Michel Tuffery

Michel Tuffery is a popular New Zealand-born Samoan artist. His work is in the style of Pop Art. He often uses re-cycled rubbish such as corn beef cans to make his art.

  • Check out Michel's work here and find out three or four main ideas about his work including the materials, the ideas he is trying to convey, and how he has incorporated his Samoan heritage.
  • Now look at something a little different: Trash Art. Compare Michel Tuffery's corned beef bulls with what these other artists have created.
  • Make you own art work using recycled materials.

Carving comparison

Tipani has been explaining to Ed and Wiki that canoes were built with different designs and materials for different reasons.

Use the Te Vainui o Pasifika website to find the similarities and differences between a war canoe and a river canoe. Consider how the shape, size, and design relate to the canoe's purpose.

  • Draw a tomako (war canoe) and a ramu (river canoe).
  • Label the key parts of the canoes to illustrate the similarities and differences.

What to weave with?

When Tipani went to Samoa for a holiday she brought Ed back a kato (woven basket). He assumed it was made of harakeke (flax), which is often used for weaving baskets in New Zealand, but was surprised to find it was actually made of pandanus leaves. This got him thinking about the types of materials used in the Pacific nations for weaving.

  • Have a look at this website about Pacific nation crafts.
  • Next, write in your eLog the different types of materials and what they are used for.


Ko ngā huihuinga he mahi taketake ki ngā huinga tāngata o Ngā Moutere o te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa. Hangaia he PowerPoint hei whakako i a Ed ki ngā momo mihi e taea e ia ki te whakamahi i ēnei huihuinga.

  • Huakina mai te pae whakaata o Peace Corps, ka pānui i ngā momo mihi rerekē.
  • Huakina te Festivals in the South Pacific ka pānui i ngā momo huihuinga rerekē.
  • Whakamahia te PowerPoint ki te auaha i tētahi whakaatutanga (kia kaua e iti iho i te rima whārangi). Me rau atu ēnei ki ia whārangi:
    • he mihi
    • he takiwā
    • he huihuinga.
  • Kātahi ka rau i ō puoro me ō whakaataata!

Ngā oro o te moana nui a kiwa

  • Whakarongo mai ki ēnei oro o:
  • Whakatauritea aua oro ki ēra a Che Fu.
  • Whakararangihia ngā oro a Che Fu, he āhua orite, ki ēra o te Moana nui a kiwa.

Navigating the Pacific Ocean

The people living in the islands of the Pacific Ocean thousands of years ago were explorers and navigators. They migrated around the islands, using their wayfinding techniques and unique sailing canoes. Play this navigation game to journey around the Pacific Ocean.

  • Create your own navigation board game. Use these websites to find information about navigating and sailing in traditional canoes to put onto your game.

Pasifika festival

Tipani went to the Auckland Pasifika festival earlier this year and had such an awesome time she can't wait for the next one. Your job is to create a brochure promoting the event.

  • Connect to the Pasifika Festival website and read through the events and information.
  • Create an informative, eyecatching brochure. It must include:
    • a logo for the festival with a Pasifika flavour. For design ideas, have a look at some of the tapa cloth designs by Pasifika artists on Te Papa's website.
    • greetings in different Pacific nation language,
    • an explanation of the purpose of the festival,
    • a short description promoting the Pacific Underground.

Traditional tattoo

Ed knows getting a tattoo hurts!

Open this website about Samoan tattoo.

Write about the following in your eLog or other report format:

  • Explain the reasons why people receive a traditional tattoo in Samoa.
  • In a paint program design a tattoo that you would wear, and explain what its meaning would be for you.
  • Insert your tattoo into the Microsoft word document with the answers.

Modern myths

Myths are stories shared by a group which are part of their cultural identity. They explain origins and validate social issues.

  • Read through the two creation myths below:
  • Identify the key similarities in the explanation of how the Earth was created and inhabited and identify those things which make each story unique to their culture.

Michel Tuffery

He kaitaurima tino rongonui a Michel Tuffery, ko ōna tātai whakapapa ki Hāmoa, ēngari i whānau mai a ia i Aotearoa nei. Ko tōna momo mahinga ko te Pop Art. Ka whakamahia e ia ngā taonga hangarua pēnei i ngā kēna corn beef hei hanga i āna mahinga toi.

Tirohia ngā mahi a Michel, ka rapu kia 3, kia 4 rānei ngā whakaaro matua mō āna mahi, pēnei i ngā rawa i whakamahia, ngā whakaaro kei te whakaputaina e ia, me tāna rau ake i tana taha Hāmoa ki roto i āna mahi. Te Papa Collections Online: Michel Tuffery

Me tiro ki te hono ki ngā mahi Trash Art. Whakaōritehia ngā mahi a Michel Tuffery ki ngā mahi o te kaitaurima o Ingarangi.

Hangaia ā ō ake mahinga toi mā te whakamahi i ngā parapara.