Purapura Whetu

Purapura whetu (star seeds, or sometimes, star dust) is the Arawa name for a simple cross-stitch pattern that used to be known as pukanohi (herring's eyes) on the East Coast, and kowhiti (to cross) in the Whanganui region. Another form, possibly older, with every space filled with a cross stitch is an Arawa version called Te Mangoroa (the long shark, being the Milky Way). Hiroa said the Whanganui elders believed this was one of the few original designs, but the patterned was abandoned because it was monotonous and the name lost. The term kowhiti was applied to the allover design when alternate light and dark coloured stitches, created an open effect. This form was also known in some regions as roimata tears. One traditional meaning of this pattern is that to survive as an iwi, a hāpu, a whānau, you must have numbers, just as the stars of the Milky Way, otherwise you may be wiped out. 

This page reproduces information from page 29 of the booklet Pūawaitanga o te Ringa - Fruits of our busy hands

This panel is on display at Waruwarutū, Tuakiri | Identity, Level 2, Tūranga.

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