Vereara Maeva-Taripo


Vereara Maeva-Taripo (also Vereara Maeva, Vereara Teariki Monga Maeva, Vearea Ngarangi Teariki Maeva BEM; born Aitutaki, August 27, 1940; died 2019) was a Cook Islander political organizer also known for her quilting of tivaevae.


Maeva-Taripo was born and raised on the island of Aiutaki.[1] She originally trained as a school teacher and later worked in public service before becoming involved in non-governmental organizations.[2][3] Her husband was a doctor, and the couple had three sons and one daughter.[3] She held a rangitira title under Tinomana Ariki and supported the parliamentary recognition of ariki.[2][4]

Political workEdit

Maeva-Taripo served as the president of the Cook Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations (CIANGO), often pressing local government to consider environmental issues.[5][6] Much of her organizational work stemmed from her observation that alternative support networks were needed as kinship networks began to fray.[7]

She participated in feminist organizations and projects, reporting on the challenges women face in the Cook Islands,[8] and starting organizations such as Cook Islands National Council of Women (CINCW), which she founded in 1984.[2][9] She summed up her attitude as, "I just want women to realize their potential as women."[10] She has been interviewed and featured in academic works on feminism in the Pacific.[10]

In June 2006, Maeva-Taripo received a British Empire Medal for her dedication to public service in the Cook Islands.[11]


Textile workEdit

Maeva-Taripo learned the craft from her aunt and grandmother and made her first tivaevae at age sixteen.[12][1] Her tivaevae have been show in galleries and museums in the Cook Islands,[13][14] and the United States,[15] and are held in the collections of several Cook Island institutions.[16] Her work is often depicted in academic writings about the medium.[16][17][18]:71 In 2001, Maeva-Taripo sold one of her tivaevae, which had won the highest honors at the National Council of Women's annual conference the previous year, to the Rarotongan Beach Resort and Spa for $10,000 (in New Zealand dollars), which was an unprecedented sum to be paid to a quilter.[2]

A series of portrait photographs of Maeva-Taripo taken by John Daley and photographs of her tivaevae from the early 1990s are held in Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand.[19][20] A dress, or mu'umu'u, she made, is in the collection of the British Museum.[21]

She positioned tivaevae as central to her identity as a woman from the Cook Islands, with the communal labor serving as a place for socializing, networking, and expression.[1][18] Maeva-Taripo worried that the craft might be lost, stating in 2001:

I can't help feeling sad about the fact that our young girls today don't seem to care or understand the value of our tivaevae, nor have the interest to learn the skills. It will be a great loss to our culture if we don't wake up now and try and save this unique and priceless gift of wisdom from of grandmothers, our mothers and the Almighty. 'Take heed of the wisdom of the "old" for thine is the joy and pride of belonging and owning an identity of being a true Cook Islands Woman'.[1]:53


Maeva-Taripo composed her first song at age nineteen.[22] The majority of her songs are about legends or Cook Island culture.[23] She was also a singer and competed in national contests.[24][25] She wrote and recorded songs, some of which are preserved in the New Zealand National Library.[26] Some of her songs were recorded by other artists as well.[27]

In 2010, Maeva-Taripo served as the leader of the Cook Islands Music Association, which was part of UNESCO meetings on intangible cultural heritage.[28]


  • Vereara Maeva and The D.O.G. Band, Korero; Araura taku ipukarea (Arorangi, Rarotonga: Teura Music Productions, 1997.)[26]


  1. ^ a b c d Rongokea, Lynnsay (2001). "Vereara Maeva". The art of tivaevae : traditional Cook Islands quilting. John Daley. Honolulu: University of Hawaiʻi Press. pp. 49–54. ISBN 0-8248-2502-0. OCLC 48567043.
  2. ^ a b c d Horan, Jane Catherine (2012). Tivaivai in the Cook Islands Ceremonial Economy: an Analysis of Value. Auckland: University of Auckland. pp. 171, 197, 201–206.
  3. ^ a b The World Who's who of Women. Vol. 11. Melrose Press. 1992. p. 626. ISBN 978-0-948875-80-9.
  4. ^ Reeves, Rachel (1 September 2014). "The Ui Ariki and Aronga Mana". Escape. 20: 55.
  5. ^ "CIANGO face Select Committee". Cook Islands Herald. 13 May 2009. Retrieved 10 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  6. ^ Maurer, Margarete; Smetschka, Barbara (1992). Frauenforschung international: Dokumentation und Bibliographie (in German). Gastprofessur Frauenforschung, FB 06, GH Universität Kassel. p. 409. ISBN 978-3-901229-08-4.
  7. ^ Crocombe, R. G.; Crocombe, Marjorie Tuainekore (2003). Cook Islands Culture. Institute of Pacific Studies. p. 15. ISBN 978-982-02-0348-8.
  8. ^ Maeva, Vereara (1989). "Projects - Cook Islands (part of the conference papers titled Women, Development and Empowerment)". Asian and Pacific Development Centre, Kuala Lumpur. p. 87. Retrieved 10 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  9. ^ Greenfield, Lesley Ripley (1993). Encyclopedia of Women's Associations Worldwide: A Guide to Over 3,400 National and Multinational Nonprofit Women's and Women-related Organizations. Gale Research. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-873477-25-0.
  10. ^ a b Fromm, Hippolyte, ed. (2005). Narratives and images of Pacific Island women. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Pres. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-7734-6184-0. OCLC 469997798.
  11. ^ "Birthday honours: list in full". The Independent. 17 June 2006. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  12. ^ The 5th Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art Education Resource Kit (PDF). Queensland: Queensland Art Gallery. 2006. p. 41.
  13. ^ "Tivaevae". Tautai: Guiding Pacific Arts. 11 November 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  14. ^ "Launch of Tivaevae Exhibition". Helen Henry of Rarotonga. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  15. ^ "Pacific Views". Oceanside Museum of Art. 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  16. ^ a b Küchler, Suzanne (29 October 2014). "Relational Maps in the Cook Islands Transnational Communities". Transnational Memory: Circulation, Articulation, Scales. Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG. p. 102. ISBN 978-3-11-035910-7.
  17. ^ Colchester, Chloë (2003). Clothing the Pacific. Berg Publishers. pp. 111–112. ISBN 978-1-85973-666-1.
  18. ^ a b Rongokea, Lynnsay (October 1995). "Tivaevae : Cook Islands quilting". Art and Asia Pacific. 2 (4): 70. ISSN 1039-3625.
  19. ^ "Vereara Maeva". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 10 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ McCredie, Athol (2019). "John Daley biography". Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Retrieved 10 January 2022. Quotations and other information from The New Photography: New Zealand’s first-generation contemporary photographers (Te Papa Press, 2019){{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  21. ^ "dress (Mu'umu'u) | British Museum". The British Museum. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  22. ^ Love, J. W.; Kaeppler, Adrienne (25 September 2017). "A Cook Islands composer at work". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: Australia and the Pacific Islands. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-351-54432-0.
  23. ^ Lal, Brij V.; Fortune, Kate (1 January 2000). The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 519–520. ISBN 978-0-8248-2265-1.
  24. ^ "Te Mire 'Atu 2016". Cook Islands Ministry of Cultural Development. 3 November 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  25. ^ Pacific Arts: The Journal of the Pacific Arts Association. Pacific Arts Association. 1991. p. 16.
  26. ^ a b "Korero ; Araura taku ipukarea". New Zealand National Library. 1997. Retrieved 9 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  27. ^ "Lorraine Wichman ; George Moekaa; Ina George". National Library of New Zealand. T & A Onu Studio. 1995.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  28. ^ "Intangible Cultural Heritage Safeguarding Efforts (2011 Field Survey Report)". ICHCAP. 2011. pp. 36–37. Retrieved 10 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)