A tribute to the art of Māori cloak weaving

21 May 2012

Latest free exhibition to open at Te Papa, Kahu Ora | Living Cloaks, celebrates the specialist art form of kākahu (Māori cloak weaving), and weavers, as the maintainers of this precious knowledge. Opening 8 June, the exhibition draws knowledge directly from the Te Papa collection and the research from Whatu Kākahu: Māori Cloaks.

“The aim of this exhibition is to share the knowledge and research of our curators and in combination with the publication opens our doors to the largest kākahu collection in the world,” says Michael Houlihan.

Featuring customary and contemporary taonga, the exhibition covers the cultural and spiritual symbolism of weaving, the connections and relationships between people and cloaks, the science and technology of cloak weaving, the innovation from European influence through to the revival of cloak weaving from the 1950’s to today.

“Being able to share the stories of these kākahu with the nation is a celebration and a tribute to the art of Māori weaving” says editor and Curator at Te Papa, Awhina Tamarapa.

The exhibition tells the stories of significant and rare cloaks including a special, one of a kind dog skin cloak, on loan from the Puke Ariki museum, New Plymouth. This cloak is made of eight whole dog pelts, stitched together with dog hide, made 1810–1815, is the only one in existence.

Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the complexity and specialised skill sets required for the living, dynamic art form of kākahu with live weaving demonstrations in the exhibition.

Kahu Ora | Living Cloaks
8 June – 21 October 2012
Free entry
Visa Platinum Gallery, Te Papa

Media contact

Roxan Mathys, Manager, Communications (Acting)
029 601 0180 or (04) 381 7021