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Object: Kahu kiwi (kiwi feather cloak)

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Title Kahu kiwi (kiwi feather cloak)
Production Unknown (weaver), 1850-1900, New Zealand
Medium summary Muka, brown kiwi, käkä, käkäpo, tüi and pipiwharauroa (shining cuckoo) feathers
Materials muka, feather, natural dye
Classification kahu kiwi, cloaks
Technique twining
Dimensions Overall: 930mm (Length) x 1370mm (Width)
Credit line Purchased 1985
Registration number ME014499

A Maori chief from Te Aroha gave this unique kahu kiwi (kiwi feather cloak) to a bilingualaccountant named Thomas Holden, in gratitude for his services. Holden's family kept the cloak for three generations before it was acquired by the national museum.

The weaver has used highly-prized feathers from the kiwi, the flightless bird unique to New Zealand. Feathers from the kakapo (night parrot), kaka (bush parrot), pipiwharauroa (shining cuckoo), and tui add to this cloak's beauty and prestige.

The cloak's kaupapa (foundation) is woven from hundreds of strands of muka (processed New Zealand flax fibre), with feathers skilfully twined into the rows during the weaving.

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