Several designs of kites are described in the literature. For example, the ethnographer Eldson Best in his Games and Pastimes of the Māori (1925) describes six kites, their design and usage.
Titiri, a Bay of Islands chief who travelled to England, in 1818 drew several pictures of kites.
|Ref: 7-A3168, 1818, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
Auckland War Memorial Museum has another form of children’s kite, which is the manu taratahi. This triangular-shaped kite is made with a plumed toetoe frame, covered with dry raupō (bulrush) leaves, joined with harakeke (flax) lashings. All of these plants can be found in swampy areas. They were commonly used materials for smaller kites.
|Ref: 2-V504, Thatched raupō hut, 1912, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
Auckland Libraries has organised an extensive programme of events from Saturday 22 June - Monday 22 July to celebrate Matriki 2013, which includes making traditional manu tukutuku (kites).
Author: Emma Chapman, Central Auckland Research Centre