Cultural Activities

Tapa Cloth Making In Tonga

Tapa cloth (or simply tapa) is a bark cloth made in the islands of the Pacific Ocean, primarily in Tonga and Samoa. The cloth is known by a number of local names, eg, tapa cloth, although the term tapa is international and understood throughout the islands that use the cloth. The word ‘tapa’ is from Tahiti, where Captain Cook was the first European to pick it up and to introduce it to rest of the world.


Tonga (1995) 2 Pa’anga (back)- Women Making Tapa Cloth

In Tonga, tapa is known as ngatu, and here it is of great social importance to the islanders, often being given as gifts. In Samoa, the same cloth is called siapo. In Hawaiʻi, it is known as kapa. In Rotuma it is called ‘uha and in Fiji it is called masi. Often the women of a whole village work together on a huge sheet of tapa.


Tapa Cloth Sample


Women Making Tapa Cloth
in Nuku’Alofa, capital of Tonga

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article “Tapa Cloth”