Forum: Folk / Polynesian Dance

Polynesian Dance
Need help making Tahitian belts
By Lisa05 Comments: 129, member since Fri Aug 10, 2007
On Tue Mar 05, 2013 09:25 PM

We are making Tahitian belts this year and I am in desperate need of help. It will be worn over a pareo and I would like it to be flat in front and stick out around the hips and back. I would like to make it out of raffia because I think that would be the cheapest but I am not sure how to make the band or how to get the raffia to really stick out like the belts I have seen.

There is also a material I see in the many headpieces that sort of looks like raffia but it looks stiffer so it too sticks out. Does anyone know what this is and where I can purchase?


3 Replies to Need help making Tahitian belts

re: Need help making Tahitian belts
By love2learn Comments: 23, member since Tue Jan 11, 2011
On Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:22 PM
Hi! I've made a (few) belts before. And I searched long and hard and I found this video: . . .

And I followed it, but instead of using artificial leaves or real leaves, I used the raffia. With the raffia I just used a "pinch", but not a handful of raffia, more like in between those two. With that technique, it can come out looking either really skinny, or really bushy, depending on how much raffia you decide to put. I cut the raffia down to size, and it seemed to be pretty affordable. What do you plan on putting in the front?

I hope this helps!
re: Need help making Tahitian belts
By Celebrianmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 7921, member since Thu Mar 31, 2005
On Fri Mar 15, 2013 01:13 AM
^Loved that video!

I'm in Florida but when I was in Hawaii the halau I learned from would braid everything and pull the leaves or raffia or whatever through the wending of the braid as it was being made, kind of like in the video.

I never had to make one myself until two years ago. I'm going to try to get a picture up sometime tomorrow of THAT disastrous hip belt. The funny thing is when I'm wearing it it looks fine, it's when I take it off you realize something is wrong with it, lol!

I braided the raffia and pulled cut raffia and fake greenery through at intervals all the way around until it hit from one side of my hip to another, kind of like a half circle shape. So I'd braid four or five then add the stick-up portion of raffia then braid four or five again then add again. I attached a green scarf and roped it through so I could pull it as taut as I needed to so it won't fall off when I shake. I know, it sounds strange but that's how I did it.
re: Need help making Tahitian belts
By ohanaPremium member Comments: 129, member since Mon Nov 26, 2007
On Sun Mar 17, 2013 10:05 PM
Edited by ohana (188688) on 2013-03-17 22:05:55
There are lots of Youtube videos on how to make hip hei so you might want to practice and experiement with different leaves and materials to get the right look. The stiff things you are talking about may be niau blanc which are young coconut fibers. Good luck!