Traditional quilts on display

Tradition on display. . . St Andrews Presbyterian minister Robert Robati-Mani (right) and his wife Marina hold a Tivaevae, a traditional Cook Island quilt which will be part of a display in the church hall at King’s Birthday weekend. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

A display of traditional Cook Island quilting is another attraction people will be able to visit during the Tussock Country Music Festival.

The display is being organised by St Andrews Presbyterian Church minister Robert Robati-Mani and his wife Marina and will be in the church hall from June 1 to 4.

Mr Robati-Mani said originally when the Cook Islanders were introduced to European quilting they adapted it to their own culture.

‘‘It’s a cross between embroidery and patchwork.’’

Mrs Robati-Mani said in the culture, tivaevae were usually given to people at a milestone in their lives such as birthdays or weddings.

‘‘Most of [the quilts] have a story.’’

In his role of minister, Mr Robati-Mani was often given one after a headstone unveiling service.

The couple had about 60 and decided a display would be a good opportunity for others to see the art form.

It was ‘‘an opportunity to show our Cook Islands tivaevae’’.

‘‘We’ve just got so many of them.’’

The number of Cook Islanders in Southland was small but growing, Mr Robati-Mani said.

The couple believed it was the first time the community would have seen tivaevae.

‘‘I’m sure Gore people will enjoy viewing [them], Mr Robati-Mani said.

The craft was usually passed down through the women of a family.

However, growing up in a household where his mother, relatives and friends regularly gathered to sew together, Mr Robati-Mani also learned the technique.

People were asked to make a donation at the door to view the quilts.