prmlogo2Cook-Voyage Collections
at the Pitt Rivers Museum


PRM0001345785179Cloak, of flax, from New Zealand; part of the Forster collection (Forster 104; 1886.1.1137)

The foundation (kaupapa) of the cloak is muka (processed New Zealand flax fibre) twined in single-pair weft-twining technique (whatu aho patahi), measuring 10 whenu warps per cm. The bundles of muka forming the whenu warps are untwisted, except for the first two or three cm, where there is a slight twist, possibly to aid the insertion of the first aho weft. The spacing between the aho wefts is between 5 and 7 mm. There appear to be no shaping rows in the cloak. H. Ling Roth stated that the cloak has been cut at both edges (see page 84 of The Maori Mantle, by H. Ling Roth (Halifax: Bankfield Museum, 1923)). It is probable that the edges of the cloak actually represent a 'thrum commencement', as recorded by Te Rangi Hiroa and discussed on page 88 of 'Whatu: The Enclosing Threads', by Margery Blackman (in Whatu Kākahu / Māori Cloaks, edited by Awhina Tamarapa (Wellington: Te Papa Press, 2011), pp. 75-93), and a similar finishing technique. An additional whenu of two-ply coloured thread is present as a whenu tapiri (finished edge warp). The whenu tapiri is made up of a dark brown thread, possibly dyed with mud, and a lighter brown, which may have been dyed with tanekaha bark (celery-topped pine). The cloak would probably have been worn as a paepaeroa, with the aho vertical, but having no taniko it does not fit the kaitaka description. The cloak has strips of of dog skin attached horizontally at each corner - three corners have 5 strips, one has 6. The strips of skin are held with a muka cord, and where the strips are narrow the cord is looped around them. The broader strips of skin are pierced, and the cord passes through the holes.


  PRM0001345795179Back of cloak
PRM0001328305179Detail of dogskin tags
PRM0001328325179Detail of dogskin tags
PRM0001328285179Detail of side border
PRM0001328155179Detail of commencement
PRM0001328175179Forster and Ashmolean labels