Kiekie (waist garments)
In celebration of Uike Kātoang‘ai ‘o e Lea faka-Tonga, Tongan Language Week (4–10 September 2016), we installed a kiekie in the Te Kākano display case in the Māori Court. Cecelia Matoto-Taukapo selected the work and wrote both the English and Tongan labels.
Ko e kiekié ko e teunga fakafonua ‘oku fakatui ‘i he kongaloto ‘o e kakai fefiné. Ko e kupesi ‘o e kiekié ko e Fata ‘o Tu‘i Tonga, ‘a ia ‘oku ‘uhinga ‘a e kupesi ko eni ki he fale ‘o e Tu‘i Tonga.
‘Oku tui ‘e he kakai Tonga ‘a e kiekie ke fakahaa‘i‘aki honau Tonga. ‘Oku ne to e tala foki mo hotau tupu‘angá pea mo hono fuofua ngaohi, ko e faka‘ilonga ‘o e faka‘apa‘apa, mateaki pea mo e fakalāngilangi ki he Tu‘i mo e Fonua. Ko e kiekie mo e ta‘ovalá ‘oku na mahu‘inga tatau ki Tonga; ko ha ongo ‘oku fakamā mo ngali vale ki ha tokotaha ‘oku ‘ikai ke tui ha kiekie pe ta‘ovala ‘i he fai‘anga lotú, fakataha fakakolo, ngaahi ngāue‘anga fakapule‘angá pē ha fa‘ahinga kātoanga faka-Tonga pē.
‘Oku ngaohi‘aki ‘a e kiekié ‘a e lo‘akau, ‘aia ‘oku fakamōmoa pe toki lālanga.
Kiekie are Tongan waist garments worn by females. The design on this kiekie is the Fata ‘o Tu‘i Tonga, referring to the house of the ancient Kings of Tonga.
Tongan women wear kiekie to identify themselves as Tongan. We also wear them to tell the story of our ancestors and how the kiekie was originally created as a sign of respect, loyalty and honour to our King and country. Both kiekie and ta‘ovala (fine waist mats) play a similar role in Tongan society; not wearing one at church, village meetings, in the workplace or at an occasion in Tonga gives a person the feeling of embarrassment and shame.
This kiekie is made of pandanus leaves, or lo‘akau, which are dried then finely woven or plaited into a girdle form.
Listen to Cecelia Matoto-Taukapo read this story in the Tongan language
Cite this article
Kiekie (waist garments). Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 1 September 2016. Updated: 22 September 2016.
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