Marlborough Museum Collection of Textiles
Cloak

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Record 3/334
Copyright Marlborough Museum - Marlborough Historical Society Inc
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Collection MHS (unaccessioned) Textiles
Description The body of the Cloak (Korowai) is muka - a flax plant. There are two side panels with remnants of feathers - one tui left, one pigeon. Each side panel has been whipped with black muka. There are two panels and a joining panel and they have alternating black/gold/natural tufting. Above and below the bottom panel are plaited patterns in black/gold/natural. Below that is a border of chevron weaving in gold and natural. The body of the cloak has many long black muka decorative cords (hukahuka). A tightly woven border at the top incorporates a muka fringe of 4-6cm. A very beautiful and well made cloak.

Email Steve Austin to Jenny Pierson 6 April 2011: Hello I had a chat to Bernice about this today. She said it is the one that she donated .... It used to have a lot more feathers apparently. The cloak was given to her by her Uncle Fred Gifford. It came into Fredís possession through one of his house keepers. The housekeeper and her husband had been missionaries in the North Island, it is seems that this was where the cloak was made.

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Label written by Steve Austin for 2010/2011display:
Korowai - cloak

Nineteenth Century

This korowai is of muka - flax fibre. The green parts of the leaves were stripped away with a mussel shell, leaving strong fibre.

The fibre was then soaked and pounded with stone pounders.

Muka was often dyed black using a traditional process involving paru - mud high in iron salts.

There are two side panels with remnants of feathers - including tui and pigeon.

The body of the cloak has many long black muka decorative cords (hukahuka). A tightly woven border at the top incorporates a muka fringe.

Korowai seem to have been rare at the time of Captain Cook's first visit to New Zealand because they do not appear in drawings made by his artists. But by 1844, when George French Angas painted historical accounts of early New Zealand, korowai with their black hukahuka had become the most popular style.

Hukahuka when made correctly would move freely with every movement of the wearer. Although very fragile this is still a very beautiful and well made cloak.

0000.600.0004
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Object ID 0000.600.0004
Object Name Cloak
Other # T4243
People Clifford, Fred
Adams, Bernice Kathleen (nee Squire)
Squire, Bernice Kathleen (later Adams)
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Last modified on: December 19, 2014