Whenever a Tongan citizen visits the home of a chief or goes about where he may be in the presence of chiefs, he lies a mat around his waist as a sign of respect. The King of Tonga himself wears a ta'ovala. At funerals the waist mats are made from large and ragged pieces of old mats; at weddings they are made from the finest, softest weaving and are decorated with coloured wool and feathers.
This type worn around the waist by women as a substitute for the more formal and less flattering ta'ovala. Modern kiekia may be made from any material – cloth, bark cloth, pandanus, etc. – and are often decorated.
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