Ie toga    
  mat - Finely woven pandanus mats called ‘ie toga are the highest ranking item in the Samoan exchange system. Their red feather borders are a symbol of chiefly status.    
   
 
  Place of Origin: Samoa

Material: pandanus
Measurements: l 58 cm

Museum location: Auckland Museum
Specific location: Lifeways
Ethnology no: 33561
 
   
 Detailed description: Finely woven pandanus mats called ‘ie toga are the highest ranking item in the Samoan exchange system. Their red feather borders are a symbol of chiefly status. Since ancient times, these mats and the red feathers have linked Tonga, Samoa and Fiji in a complex trading relationship. Tongan navigators traveled to Fiji to obtain the red feathers of the Fijian kula lory or the kaka parrot which they took to Samoa where they exchanged them for finished ‘ie toga.
In Samoa, ‘ie toga are presented and exchanged at weddings, funerals, title investitures and other important occasions. They are worn as kilts by the sons and daughters of chiefs for special dances. In Tonga, ancient fine mats carry illustrious personal names and are only brought out on royal occasions.
 
  
 References: (1) Stead, O (ed). 2001. 150 Treasures.