Te Papa to return treasures gifted to Captain Cook to Hawai‘i

16 February 2016

A priceless feather cloak and helmet gifted to Captain Cook in 1779 are being returned to Hawai‘i by Te Papa.

A ceremony at Te Papa on Friday 11 March will welcome the Hawaiian delegation who will uplift the taonga.

The ‘ahu‘ula (cloak) and mahiole (helmet) were a gift from Hawaiian Chief Kalani‘ōpu‘u to Captain James Cook, and have been in Te Papa's collection since being gifted to the national museum in 1912.

The 11 March ceremony is open to media and promises to be a spectacular and emotional occasion, as a Hawaiian delegation is welcomed onto the marae to receive their treasures and take them home.

The cloak and helmet will then travel back to Hawai‘i on a special Hawaiian Airlines flight, and will be welcomed in a formal Hawaiian ceremony on 17 March. They will go on display in the Bishop Museum in Hawai‘i from 19 March.

These stunning feather garments are among the most significant treasures in Hawaiian history, and have an incredible story to tell about the history of the Pacific.

For more information see the statement below from the Bishop Museum, Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Te Papa.

Media contacts

Andrea Oka, Stryker Weiner & Yokota Public Relations, Inc.
(808) 523-8802, ext. 219

New Zealand
Kate Camp, Te Papa Communications Manager
09 601 0180 (+64 29 6010180)

Media release - The Treasured Mahiole (feathered helmet) and ‘Ahu ‘Ula (feathered cloak) of Kalani‘ōpu‘u Return to Hawai‘i (196.99 KB)