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Kākahu | Māori Cloaks 

  • Kukupa Tirikātene wears the Tirikātene family cloak. Photograph by Norm Heke, 2008. Te PapaInner and outer surfaces of a kahu kurī (dog-skin cloak) with bone cloak pins. Te Papa (ME000742)Weaver Makurata Paitini (1912–26). Photograph by James McDonald (1865–1935). Te Papa (MA_C.001346)Close-up of a kahu wūru huruhuru (cloak with feathers and wool), 1860–1900, showing a playing-card symbol stitched with wool. Te Papa (ME015747)
    Erenora Puketapu-Hetet (1941–2006) weaves on Te Papa’s marae, 2006. Photograph by Norm Heke. Te Papa
  • He mahi nā o tātou tūpuna, hei pupuri mō ā tātou uri whakatupu.

Te Papa houses the world’s largest collection of Māori cloaks – more than 300 in total, both customary and contemporary. Explore everything from their origins to their ongoing importance. Watch weavers and researchers talk about these treasures, and view the cloaks in vivid detail.


What is a kākahu?

Kākahu (cloaks) from Te Papa’s collection. Photograph by Mike O’Neill, 2006. Te Papa

Explore the origins of weaving, as told in the Māori creation story. Get a quick history of cloak-making in New Zealand. Learn about key cloak styles, and discover special cloaks outside as well as inside Te Papa.

Making kākahu

Close-up of the top of a kaitaka (fine flax cloak), 1800–50. Te Papa (ME014336)

Discover the materials, techniques, and protocols of Māori weaving.

People and kākahu

Toi Te Rito Maihi and Matekino Lawless examine a kaitaka (fine flax cloak) at Te Papa, 2007. Photograph by Norm Heke. Te Papa

Find out about prominent weavers and researchers, and read remarkable family stories about famous cloaks.



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