Glossary of terms about tapa 

Confused by unfamiliar words? Here is our comprehensive online list of terms related to tapa:

Aute: the Māori term for tapa cloth. Aute is also the Māori and Cook Islands Māori term for the paper mulberry plant.

Bark cloth: a type of cloth made from the bast fibre, or inner bark strips, of specific trees.

Bast: strip of inner bark.

Eharo: one of three types of dance masks made by the Western Elema people of the Papuan Gulf. 

Fuataimi: a Samoan term that literally means ‘to measure time’. Fuataimi refers to a person who guides both dance and music, conducting a choir as it accompanies dancers with singing and movement.

Hiapo: the Niuean term for decorated tapa.

Ie: the Samoan term for a tapa beater.

Kapa: the Hawaiian term for decorated tapa.

Kupesi: a Tongan term for a specially made pattern board that artists use to make rubbings onto tapa cloth. The pattern thus created is used as a guide for over-painting.

Lapita pottery: a type of pottery named after a site in New Caledonia where early findings of this pottery were made. Lapita pottery is the evidence of an ancient seagoing people, who were the ancestors of present day Polynesians. 

Lepau: the Santa Cruz (Solomon Islands) term for decorated tapa.  

Masi: the Fijian term for tapa from the paper mulberry plant and for decorated tapa. 

Masi bola: a Fijian term from the Cakaudrove region describing the manner in which barkcloth is divided up for printing

Nemasitse: the Erromanga (Vanuatu) term for decorated tapa. It means 'beaten cloth'.

Ngatu: the Tongan term for decorated tapa.

Nioje: the Omie (Papua New Guinea) language term for decorated tapa. 

Pahu tiki: a Marquesan term for full body tattoo, which literally means 'wrapping in images'. 

Paper mulberry: a plant commonly used for the manufacture of tapa cloth.

Pareeva: a type of mask from Mangaia in the Cook islands used in ceremonial activities in the late 19th century.

Siapo: the Samoan term for tapa cloth.

Siapo mamanu: Samoan bark cloth that has been decorated with a freehand rendered pattern or set of motifs.

Staff god: a type of wooden staff made in the Cook Islands during the 19th century, featuring carved god figures at either end. The staff is wrapped with bark cloth so that the carved elements project from each end.

Siviritki mask: a form of mask made by the Baining people of the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain, Papua New Guinea.

Tapa: the term used in Polynesia to refer to a type of cloth made from the bast fibres, or inner bark strips, of trees. Tapa is known by a variety of local names throughout the Pacific islands, yet the term tapa is regionally understood and recognised.

Tiputa: a type of garment made from tapa and worn over the head and shoulders like a poncho. 

Toga: a Samoan term that refers to a category of objects exchanged in important ceremonies, such as weddings.

Ua: the Samoan language term for the paper mulberry plant.

‘Upeti: aSamoan term for a specially made pattern board that artists use to make rubbings onto tapa cloth. The pattern thus created is used as a guide for over-painting.