Definition of kowhaiwhai in English:



mass nounNew Zealand
  • Painted ornamentation in Maori art, typically made up of geometric swirls.

    ‘his work is known for glittery kowhaiwhai and wallpaper patterns’
    • ‘The mangopare kowhaiwhai design on the rafters represents a hammerhead shark, a species which is very hard to kill and has become the symbol of bravery.’
    • ‘Lines of scripture, the great white bird Taiamai, kowhaiwhai painting and gang patches are elegantly arrayed across fields of utter blackness in these works, a blackness that points both to creation and apocalypse.’
    • ‘He has fashioned a unique identity for himself in his exploration of the relevance of kowhaiwhai painting here today.’
    • ‘I love in recent years how it increasingly boldly speaks across cultures and traditions while still being firmly rooted in extending the kowhaiwhai pattern of mangopare.’
    • ‘Her garment Toi Aotearoa, inspired by the patterns in carving, weaving and kowhaiwhai (Maori painted scroll ornamentation), is also a finalist in the South Pacific section at the World of Wearable Art awards.’
    • ‘His work followed that of his great-grandfather, who adopted European and American influences in his kowhaiwhai work on East Coast whare nui.’
    • ‘The review really opened up the work for me, in relation to conventions of kowhaiwhai.’
    • ‘The council's kowhaiwhai pattern will be sandblasted around its lower section’
    • ‘Kowhaiwhai lends itself to being able to interweave the social, political and economic forces we face today in Aotearoa.’
    • ‘You'll see different kowhaiwhai forms coming through.’


1940s Maori.