7. Sandals: Paraerae.
Sandals were plaited from flax, or the leaves of the Cordyline australis. They seern to have been quite common in the South Island. Skinner (7) mentions that on the Poutini coast they were also made of mountain-grass, and that in expeditions from five to twenty pairs were carried by each individual. They were quickly worn out in rough stony country or in swamps, and when a halt was made more were manufactured from whatever material was available. In the North Island the use was not so universal. The Whanganui and East Coast people know nothing of them,
Figs. 16–18.—Diagrammatic representation of sandal: 16, the sole: 17, half the heel; 18, the lacing.
and regard them with scepticism. In Taranaki, however, they were worn until fairly recently by old men at Parihaka. They say they were used to protect the feet from the frost as well as the rough stones on the beaches. They were also used in the Taupo and Moawhango districts, where they were termed parkereke. Best (3) states that in the Tuhoe country special ones were plaited from the tumatakuru shrub (Aciphylla squarrosa) for crossing the Huiarau Range. A rough kind of combined sandal and legging is named
tumatakuru after the plant Aciphylla. In the South Island the name twnatakuru is applied to the wild-irishman (Discaria toumatou—“matagowry”), the name for the various species of spaniard (Aciphylla) being taramea. In Tuhoeland, according to Beat (3, p. 653), Aciphylla squarrosa is tumatakuru, A. Colensoi being taramea. Shortland (11, pp. 209–10) when journeying up the coast of Canterbury in January, 1844, used sandals, which he said were made of leaves of flax or ti (Cordyline australis), the latter being the tougher. The ordinary sandals were paraerae; a double-soled kind, called torua, were used on the stony beach, and lasted several days. “They no doubt,” writes Shortland, “owed their invention to the necessity of protecting the feet from the snow, and the sharp prickles of the small shrub ‘tumatakuru’ (Discaria toumatou Raoul), which is very common on the plains, and often lies so much hidden in the grass, that you first become aware of its presence by your feet being wounded by it.” In the interior of the plains the plant is a tree 14 ft. or more in height.
Mr. D. McKee Wright found two pairs of these sandals in a cave in the Upper Taieri, Otago, with other material proving that they were of old manufacture. Hamilton figures them in vol. 29 of the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute. Through the kindness of Mr. F. V. Knapp, of Nelson, in whose possession they now are, I have been able to figure them for this article. The wefts are double, and the thick butt ends of the blades are used as much as possible. One pair, plaited with, a check stroke, taki-tahi, had not been used, and the flaxen strips for tying them on the feet were wound round the sandals and across the instep. They were 11 in. long, 4 ¾ in. across the toes, and narrowed down to 3 ½ in. across the instep and 3 in. across the heel. Fig. 16 is a diagrammatic representation of one, but reference to Plate 38 shows that by tightening the wefts the part that corresponds to the little toe is rounded off and so approaches more nearly the shape of the foot. The wefts are ¾ in. to ⅞ in. in. width. Five long double strips are used, and these, by being bent in the middle, form ten wefts. The technique may be followed by referring to fig. 16. Commencing at the big toe, 1, the first strip is twisted on itself in the middle and runs diagonally from the big-toe corner towards the right to form two dextral wefts, A and B. The second strip, 2, has one part, V, passed through the loop of the first strip, above B and below A. It goes to the left and functions as the first sinistral weft. The other part, C, is twisted forward at right angles to V and runs parallel with A and B to act as the third dextral. The third strip, 3, has one part, W, passed over C, under B, and over A, thus continuing the check stroke and acting as the second sinistral. The other part, D, is twisted forward at right angles to W and runs parallel with C to form the fourth dextral. The fourth strip, 4, is treated in a similar way. The left portion, X, acts as the third sinistral, and continues the check by passing above D and B and under C and A. The right portion, E, runs parallel with D and completes the five dextrals. It will be observed that there are now five dextrals and only three sinistrals. This is due to the first strip, 1, having been twisted round so that both parts run parallel to one another to form two dextrals. The fifth strip, 5, is now treated in a similar manner to the first, only in the opposite direction. The, left portion, Y, carries on as the fourth sinistral by passing over E, C, and A, and under D and B. As the appropriate width, of the sandal has been reached, the remaining portion, Z, must be twisted back into the body of the article. It is therefore twisted back to run under B C and A, and over D and B, and to He parallel with its first limb as
the fifth, sinistral. Thus is the tale completed. The strips 1 and 5, by being doubled round, lock the wefts in position on being tightened. They not only mark the ends of the toe-border, but commence the two side borders. Thus, on the left side, the first weft to project beyond the side edge commenced by A is the first sinistral weft, V. This is now twisted back into the work at V1 to function as a dextral. To continue the check stroke it must pass above the first crossing-weft that it meets—namely, W. The rest follows automatically. The next left-hand weft to emerge beyond the border thus defined is W, and it is twisted back at W1. On the right-hand border the first weft to emerge beyond the defining weft Z is the last dextral, E. This is twisted back at right angles at E1, passes under the crossing-weft D to continue the check, and carries on as the sinistral. So the plaiting proceeds, wefts being turned back as they reach the side borders. Thus V, which started as a sinistral weft, by the turn at V1 becomes a dextral, and at V2 on the opposite side becomes a sinistral again. It will be noticed that the turns at the edges are made with a backward turn on the left and with a forward turn on the right. It is immaterial which way the turn is made so long as a similar one is made on each border for the sake of appearance. As the plaiting continues the wefts are drawn together more tightly, so as to narrow the sandal towards the instep and the heel. After eight turns at either border the sandal is long enough. Without any further twists at the side, the crossing-wefts are interlaced to continue the check stroke, and the plaiting ends at the point made by the crossing of the two marginal wefts, C and X. Five wefts are left on either side.
The sole being completed, the fastenings are attached in the following manner: Two strong strips of flax are knotted together at the butt ends with an overhand knot. The knot is laid upon the apex where C and X cross in fig. 16. The two strips are diverged so as to lie upon the marginal wefts, C and X (fig. 16). The wefts that entered into the construction of the sole have been double wefts throughout, one element lying upon the other. In the following procedure the upper elements alone are used, the lower elements being disregarded for the time being. The left marginal weft, C, is crossed over the right strip of flax and brought round and under it back on to the upper surface of the sole, as shown in fig. 17. The right marginal weft, X, is treated in a similar manner with regard to the left strip of flax. This fixes the point of the heel. Note that no half-hitches or knots are used. Following down the five projecting wefts on the left, W, V, and A are treated in the same way as X. B, the last of the series, is simply tied to the strip with an overhand knot as in fig. 17. Referring to fig. 16, the wefts D, E, and Z on the right are treated in the same manner as C; and Y, being the last of the series, is tied to the right strip with an overhand knot. The heel-margin is thus denned, and the wefts fixed. The lower elements of the ten wefts are simply cut off close to where they emerge from the last crossing - weft. Fig. 17 is purely diagrammatical. Plate 38, fig. 1, shows the weft-ends close together and projecting in over the heel-area for about 2 in. This side, done last, naturally forms the upper layer.
To complete the heel part, two or three strips of flax are tied to the two flaxen strips at about 1 in. above the knots at B and Y. They are tied with simple overhand knots on either side, and are about 4 in. in length. The ends of the cross-strips are tied close together, and form a heel-band to secure the heel part by passing across the tendo Achillis above the point of the heel. (See fig. 18.)
The lacing arrangements over the foot were admirably shown in the second pair of sandals in Mr. Knapp's collection. In these the twill stroke, toura, had been used, and they had been worn, as is proved by the condition of the under-surface of the sole. The lacing-strips were in actual position, with the ends tied. Plate 39 shows one of the sandals in position on the foot. The foot, being small, was slipped in without disarranging or untying the lacing-strips. Fig. 18 shows the technique. It will be seen that the two long flaxen strips which helped to fix the upper layer of heel-wefts, and to which the heel-band was attached, are carried down on either side-border in three loops formed by passing the strips through these weft-turns at the edges, the third loop being the strip next to the toe-border, The strips are now simply interlaced through the loop on either side, and tied together in front of the ankle as shown in fig. 18 and Plate 39. At times a short strip of flax is passed through the middle of the toe-border at T and tied round the two lacing-strips where they cross to the third loop at S. The loop and lacing-strips being continuous, the former can be adjusted to any size of foot.
Besides paraerae and parekereke, Williams gives parahirahi as a sandal made of flax. Hamilton (8) states that there were three kinds of sandals made in the South Island. One kind was made of a single layer of plaited flax-leaves, and was called paraerae hou, or kuara, or parekereke. Both paraerae and parekereke are North Island names for sandals in general, whether made of flax or ti (Cordyline). Paraerae hou seems to me to mean sandals made from fresh leaves, whether of flax or ti. His second kind, named takitaki, seems to be a misprint for takitahi. Takitahi is the North Island term for the check stroke, and is applied to a sandal to indicate the technique employed. His third kind, torua, is also used in the North to indicate the stroke used—viz., a twilled two; but according to Shortland, quoted above, it may have been the name in the South for the sandal with double sole.
Best mentions that combined leggings and sandals were made. Besides tumatakuru, the names rohe and papari are given by him for this article. He also mentions toe-caps, called paenaena, and leggings, called parengarenga. Of their technique I have no knowledge.
Sandals and shoes made of narrower white wefts and of dressed fibre are to be seen in our museums, but they must be regarded as modifications originating in post-European times.