Wednesday, 5 August 2015


Background information
Many different types of käkahu (cloaks) exist, and some are particularly highly prized. Chiefly garments like korowai (tasselled cloaks) and kahu huruhuru (feathered cloaks) convey the mana (prestige) of the wearer. Such cloaks are worn during Matariki celebrations and on other important occasions. Matariki could be considered the fashion week for käkahu!
The art of weaving is greatly respected. Woven into the designs and details of cloaks are the stories of the weaver and their iwi (tribe). Other designs can tell stories about the wearer and the purpose of the cloak’s creation. In the past, most chiefly cloaks were given names.
This custom has been passed down through the generations and is alive and well today among iwi throughout the country. Weavers are valued not just for their skill but for the way in which their work weaves the generations together.

The käkahu of Ranginui (sky father) and Papatüänuku (earth mother)
If we look above, we can see the käkahu of Ranginui twinkle in the night sky. If we look below to the forests here on Earth, we can see the cloak that keeps Papatüänuku warm.
When Rangi (sky father) and Papa (earth mother) were separated, their son Täne (god of the forest) felt badly for his parents in their lonely nakedness. So he clothed them. He clothed his father Rangi with the stars, the moon, and the sun. He clothed his mother Papa in the warmth of the Great Forest of Täne.

Kahu kurï – dog-skin cloaks
Kahu kurï are among the most treasured cloaks and a sign of the wearer’s prestige. Few remain today because the kurï (Pacific dog) became extinct in the 1800s. In the past, they were worn by leaders in war – the thickness of the cloak‘s foundation acted like amour when immersed in water. The hairs from the kurï’s tail were particularly highly prized because they were the longest and most luscious.
Kaitaka – fine flax cloaks
Kaitaka (known to the people of the Whanganui River as parawai) are unadorned by dog skin, tassels, or feathers. Their beauty is the result of the weaver’s ability to create a silken foundation of the finest flax and intricate patterns along the borders.

No comments:

Post a Comment