prmlogo2Cook-Voyage Collections
at the Pitt Rivers Museum


PRM0001344825179Cloak, of flax, from New Zealand; part of the Forster collection (Forster 106; 1886.1.1133)

The body of the cloak (kaupapa) is processed New Zealand flax (muka), in single-pair weft-twining technique (whatu aho patahi), where two weft threads (aho) twine around each other with a half-turn before enclosing the next warp thread (whenu). The weft is horizontal, i.e. the aho run from top to bottom. The whenu warps measure 8 per cm, and the spacing between each aho weft row is between 3 and 4 mm. The lower border of the cloak is 97 mm wide. Within the border there are 6 whenu warp threads per cm. The cloak is shaped with short wefts (aho poka). The first poka is inserted approximately 11.5 cm from the bottom of the cloak, finishing 6.5 cm from one edge, and 14 cm from the other. A second poka is inserted 19 cm from the bottom edge, and ends 2 cm from the side edge. A third poka is inserted 22.5 cm from the bottom edge, ending 14.5 cm from one edge and 9.0 cm from the other. A fourth poka is inserted approximately 35 cm from the bottom edge, ending 6.0 cm from one edge and 7.5 cm from the other. The fifth poka is inserted 42 cm from the bottom edge, ending 4.5 cm from one edge, 6.5 cm from the other. The sixth shaping row is 53.5 cm from the bottom edge of the cloak, ending 33.0 m from one edge and 25.5 cm from the other. A seventh shaping row is inserted 11.0 cm from the top edge, ending 24.0 cm one side edge, extending all the way to the opposite side. (These aho poka correspond with the diagram of the cloak on page 63 of The Maori Mantle, by H. Ling Roth (Halifax: Bankfield Museum, 1923), where it is described as follows: 'No. 11. Fig. 47. Mantle, No. 106, Capt. Cook Collection, Pitt-Rivers Museum, Oxford. The border along the bottom, 10 cm. deep, is dark brown with small triangles of a lighter brown top and bottom. This border is not a taniko but consists of 84 rows single-paired placed close together, see Fig. 9g [on page 19]. Some of the ends are knotted together here and there at the back. Along the bottom of the border there is a narrow light buff (natural colour) plait. There is no worsted ornamentation. This mantle is a very fine specimen.' See also the detailed sketch published as figure 47 on page 70. See also detailed dimensions in table on page 120.) The border is mainly formed from close-packed single-pair weft-twining. At the top and bottom of the border a second colour, a lighter brown, has been introduced, and, using taniko techniques, a patterned strip has been produced. The commencement of the cloak is at the neck edge, probably by the method described in 'Whatu: The Enclosing Threads', by Margery Blackman (in Whatu Kākahu / Māori Cloaks, edited by Awhina Tamarapa (Wellington: Te Papa Press, 2011), pp. 75-93). On page 88 Blackman writes: 'A third method is very clearly identifiable in a number of eighteenth- and early ninetheenth- century kakahu. A plied thread appears to have been set up between the two turuturu placed at the desired width of the kakahu. A length of whenu is then laid over the cross thread and secured in place with whatu to form two whenu.' The bottom of the cloak is finished with a plait, beyond which the ends of the aho can be seen in a very short fringe. An ornamental two-ply twist of flax fibre has been added at the top edge of the cloak, inserted between the whenu warp threads. The small strips of dog skin, present at top and bottom of the border on the lower part of the cloak, were attached with a two-ply cord of muka, threaded through the kaupapa and looped around the strips of skin.


  PRM0001344835179Back of cloak
PRM0001319095179Cloak with shaping rows marked
PRM0001319155179Detail of finish at top of cloak
PRM0001319165179Detail of finish at bottom of cloak
PRM0001319185179Detail of dogskin tag
PRM0001319195179Detail of dogskin tag
PRM0001319205179Detail of single-pair weft-twining
PRM0001319125179Forster and Ashmolean labels