Fiji Health

 Health Education Arts Language Traditions & Heritage of Fiji


Many Fijian homes use woven pandanus (palm frond mats) for floor coverings, dining mats and sleeping mats. Most village girls and many boys learn the traditional craft of weaving mats, baskets and fans.

While these crafts are often sold to tourists for nominal sums, they also are still used for their traditional daily functions in most Fijian village households. Baskets are woven to carry wood and cocoanuts, fans are used to keep cool, hats are woven for shade, and food is woven between fronds to keep it together while cooking.

The pandanus leaves are cut and laid outdoors to cure, then stripped of the spiny edges, boiled and dried. The
traditional method for blackening the leaves for contrasting patterns is to bury them in mud for days and then boil them with special leaves. The dried pandanus leaves, made flexible by scraping with shells, are split into strips of about 1 to 2cm and then woven together.

Masi, also known as tapa, is bark cloth with black and rust-colored printed designs which have symbolic meaning. Fijian masi is now mostly made for tourists and is used for postcards, wall hangings and other decorative items.