Three traditional Māori cloak styles

Three traditional Māori cloak styles Three traditional Māori cloak styles


Cloak 1: Kahu huruhuru (feathered cloak)

The cloak is made from muka (prepared flax fibre) and feathers of kerurū (New Zealand pigeon), kākā (forest parrot) and kākāriki (green parakeet).

1850 - 1900

Weaver unknown.

Cloak 2: Kahu kurī (dog skin cloak)

Kahukuri are made of strips of dog-hair taken from the kuri (Maori dog). These strips, which vary from about eighteen to thirty centimetres in length, are arranged by colour and sewn with fine bone needles onto a tightly woven pukupuku kaupapa (a foundation of tightly woven twine made from flax fibre). The awe (dog-hair tassels) that fringe the outside length of the cloak are taken from the underside of the dog's tail and are similar to the circlet of dog-hair tassels that adorn the necks of taiaha (long clubs). The ruffled kurupatu (dog-hair collars) are entirely separate to the kaupapa (main body) of the cloak and are made by threading separate strips together to make a length of collar that is sewn onto the neck of the finished garment. Kuri is an extinct breed of Maori/Polynesian dog. This cloak was worn by someone of importance.

1800 - 1840

Weaver unknown. 

Cloak 3: Kaitaka aronui (fine flax cloak)

This kaitaka is unusually small, with narrow side borders and a deep lower border of taniko (geometric patterning). The very wide lower border is dominated by the striking zigzag pattern known as aramoana (pathway of the sea). Small hints of multicoloured sheep wool can be seen within the lines.
Edging the cloak is a two-ply decorative twist of red wool and brown/black-dyed muka (flax fibre). Along the side borders, the taniko is of the complex aronui (triangular) pattern, in both natural and traditionally dyed black and brown muka. 

From Nelson Bays, 

Date and weaver unknown.

Credit: Don Hitchcock / Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, ref. ME002053 & ME003788.

New Zealand History and Natural History. 

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

The story of Mataroa and Niwareka
Matariki Te Whetū o te Tau | Dr Rangi Matamua


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Monday, 15 July 2024

Captcha Image