Manu Aute Matariki
760 x 760
Mixed Media - Paint, dress patterns, graphite, charcoal, metallic foil
Historically in New Zealand kites were flown to celebrate the start of the Māori New Year, when Matariki (the Pleiades) appeared in the mid-winter night sky. The Māori kite is known as manu tukutuku or manu aute. Manu means both kite and bird. The coverings of large kites were fashioned from bark cloth made from aute until the plant became virtually extinct. In some traditions, the god Tāwhaki ascended to the heavens and retrieved the baskets of knowledge on a kite made from the bark of the aute (paper mulberry) tree. Kites were decorated with feathers, shells, carved faces, and coloured patterns drawn with black or red pigments from charcoal or clay mixed with shark oil. Some kites featured long feather tails known as pūhihi, attached to the lower end or wing tips. Others were decorated with horns, and some had shells held inside a hollow mask that rattled during flight. Some kites had a ring, called a karere (messenger), made of toetoe leaves or wood, which was blown by the wind up the line towards the kite.
Text credit (edited): https://teara.govt.nz/en/kites-and-manu-tukutuku/page-1
The largest of all surviving Maori kites have a ‘birdman’ form, and only two examples are known. The slender framework of this kite is bound together with lashings of flax fibre. The wings are not rigid, rather constructed to move gently when the kite was flown, perhaps mimicking the movement of a bird in flight. It features a head, covered with paper (including some strips from an 1884 Government Gazette) and beaten bark cloth.
Text credit (edited): https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/on-a-wing-and-a-prayer-2/