Best Māori Dresses to Wear this Summer 2023
Māori designed clothing have become a rising star in the world of New Zealand fashion, with an array of beautifully designed kākahu (clothing) to both express and celebrate what it means to be tangata whenua (the people of this land). Māori dresses in particular, are hugely popular here in Aotearoa, and with summer just around the corner, we thought we’d share our top picks for Māori dresses in 2023.
NŌKU Pakihi: Ash and Parns (the Nōku sisters)
We come from Ngati Kahungunu, a prominent iwi based in the heart of Te Matau-a-Māui (Hawke’s Bay). Nōku Pakihi (or Nōku for short) is a Māori owned and operated clothing business that we established back in 2020. We create beautiful kākahu that are not only made to uplift and empower our customers, but are also carefully designed to represent the traditions of Māori culture and their significant meanings. Our dresses are very popular, with many of them being sold out within a few weeks of being released. To learn more about Nōku, and who we are visit our Nōku website.
Our latest dress design is called Koromahanga (which means to tie into a bow), and was inspired by being able to adjust and tie the dress to fit around the waist as desired. The tāniko (weaving technique) we use in our design is a simple yet important technique used by Māori ancestors, and is a commonly seen pattern in Māori culture. The dress is light and breathable, yet durable, made from a high quality blend of cotton/linen so you know it’ll last you the whole summer without wearing. It also comes in two colours; ngārahu (charcoal) and ōriwia (olive green).
The Pango (black) smock dress is another very popular dress that we have designed. We named it Matariki, as the design seen at the back of the dress is a representation of the Matariki constellation. In the center is Matariki herself, surrounded by all of her eight children. The ascending and descending design surrounding the cluster of stars each represent a learning from each of the stars.
This beautiful dress was designed with Tāne te Waiora in mind, who is the Māori Atua (god) of healing waters. The embroidered design was carefully placed on the ngākau (chest area) to represent healing waters, and their ability to flow and wash away any worries that the wearer might be holding on to. This dress comes in a lovely pikopiko (green), and is definitely worth joining the waitlist for!
So there you have it whānau! 3 beautifully designed Māori dresses to choose from for your summer 2023 collection. These dresses are not only made and designed locally, but more importantly, they celebrate the beauty of Māori culture and traditions. This means you can be proud of the dress you’re wearing, and be confident in sharing the story behind the kākahu.