prmlogo2Cook-Voyage Collections
at the Pitt Rivers Museum


PRM0001345755179Cloak, of cabbage-tree fibre, from New Zealand; part of the Forster collection (Forster 102; 1886.1.1134)

The cloak is made from a coarse textured fibre, obtained from the cabbage tree (ti kouka, Cordyline australis). The cloak is twined in the whato aho patahi technique (single-pair weft-twining) with 3-4 whenu warps per cm. The aho weft rows are between 10 and 12 mm apart. The commencement is at the top of the cloak. Each whenu warp bundle of fibres has been folded over a single horizontal cord, and held in place with the first aho row. Each folded bundle forms one whenu warp thread. The top has been finished with a length of cord made from twisted NZ flax, which has been looped through the whatu weft just under the commencement cord at intervals of 2-4 cm and tied. The bottom edge of the cloak has been finished with a fringe. This is partly formed from the ends of the whenu warps, but additional bundles of fibres have been added to the fringe, doubled over and held by the last aho weft, so that each bundle of fibres forms two additional fringe elements. These added elements form a decorative top edge to the fringe. The side edges of the cloak have been finished with plaits made from bundles of the same plant fibre as used for the warps, held in place by the aho weft rows. The remains of feather shafts are present on the cloak. Many of these are associated with fragments of bird skin. These appear to have been tied to lengths of plied fibre of fibre running parallel to the whenu warps, and added, as Ling Roth noted, every 8 to 12 warps, or closer together in some areas (see page 87 of The Maori Mantle, by H. Ling Roth (Halifax: Bankfield Museum, 1923)). Some skin strips , however, have been bent in half and are held by the aho wefts, and some insertions appear to have been just feathers, without associated skin fragments.


  PRM0001345745179Back of cloak
PRM0001332715179Detail showing remains of feathers
PRM0001332745179Detail showing remains of feathers
PRM0001333065179Detail showing skin attached to feather shaft
PRM0001333175179Detail of edge finish
PRM0001333195179Detail of bottom of cloak
PRM0001332775179Forster label
PRM0001332755179Ashmolean labels
PRM0001337065179Electron microscope image of cloak fibre