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  1. Mother Hubbard dress

    A Mother Hubbard dress is a long, wide, loose-fitting gown with long sleeves and a high neck. Intended to cover as much skin as possible, it was introduced by missionaries in Polynesia to "civilise" those whom they considered half-naked savages of the South Seas islands. Although this Victorian remnant has disappeared elsewhere in the world, it is still worn by Pacific women, who have altered it into a gayer and lighter garment, using cotton sheets, often printed in brightly coloured floral patterns. In Hawaiʻi, it is called holokū. There, a derivative, the muʻumuʻu, is highly similar, but without the yoke and train, and therefore even easier to make. In Tahiti, the name was ʻahu tua; now, ʻahu māmā rūʻau is used. In Samoa and Tonga, the design has taken on a two-piece form, with classic mother hubbard blouses over ankle-length skirts, called "puletasi" and "puletaha," respectively. In Marshallese, the name is wau, from the name of the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu. The missionaries who introduced it in the Marshall Islands came from Oʻahu. In New Caledonia, these dresses are referred to as robes missions. New Caledonian women wear these dresses when playing their distinctive style of cricket.


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