Manu Tukutuku- Kites


Last year, all of the year five and six students made manu tukutuku to be shown at our annual Calf Club. The idea came from the book ‘Māori Art for Kids’ which you can find here. Here’s how we did it!

You will need: IMG_3397
Plastic bags
Coloured sharpies/vivids
Masking tape
Clear tape


  1. First, you need to make the frame for your kite. Tape two skewers together using masking tape. Overlap them to maintain strength. Repeat this so that you have three sets of taped skewers.
  2. Lay the skewers in a triangle, and use masking tape to secure them. Again, overlap the skewers to keep the structure strong.
  3. Cut a plastic bag open along the bottom seam and side. Lay your triangle on top. Use a ballpoint pen to draw around the triangle (allowing around 3cm) before cutting the shape from the plastic bag.
  4. Cut three lengths of string- no more than 40cm. Tie each of these onto the middle of each side of the triangle, then tie all three together. If you wish to fly your manu tukutuku, you will need to include string for the handle in this join (as we were making ours for display, we didn’t include this). You will also need to add a 60cm length to one side of the triangle for the kite tail.
  5. Tape feathers onto the corners of the kite using clear tape. Tie more feathers into the tail of the kite.
  6. Next, you will need to create the design for your kite. We looked at tukutuku panels, carvings, and other Māori art forms to gain inspiration. Use permanent markers to cover the plastic bag shape with your chosen design.
  7. Lay your plastic bag with the design facing down, and place the kite frame on top. At each string and corner, cut a notch from the plastic bag so that it is easier to wrap tightly to the frame. Use clear tape to secure the plastic around the frame.
  8. Display/play/enjoy!

5 thoughts on “Manu Tukutuku- Kites

  1. After reading the article, I am.interested in making a Maori style kite like the one you described, but with silkpaper and basswood dowels. So how big would a traditional kite be? What materials would be used vesides bird.feathers? What kind of briddle do you use and what about the tail?


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