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Māori Kākahu (Cloak) Fragments from Piha: Whakaari Pā

Lisa McKendry
Auckland War Memorial Museum

Abstract

The recent examination of textiles collected from dry caves and rock-shelters in Te Wao Nui a Tiriwa (Waitakere Ranges), and held at Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira revealed an assortment of woven, twined, twisted and plaited fragments. The whatu (twined) fragments from Whakaari Pā (Lion Rock) are rare examples of fine weaving associated with the use of kōkōwai (red ochre). The twined fragments are likely to be kākahu (cloak) remains as they share structural attributes of known cloaks. However, they also display rare forms of whenu (warp) and hukahuka (tags). The fragments demonstrate specialized knowledge of fibre preparation and cloak manufacturing techniques and have a range of elaborate decorations.

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