Making and caring for kākahu
Discover the materials, techniques, and protocols of Māori weaving.
To construct cloaks, Māori used readily available resources, including harakeke (New Zealand flax), feathers, and animal skins. They developed particular techniques for working with these materials.
The main technique of Māori weaving is whatu, or twining. Māori adapted whatu to suit their own needs, developing innovative styles such as tāniko (the weaving of geometric patterns). They were also skilled in whiri (braiding) and raranga (plaiting).
Edna Pahewa, Head Weaver at Te Puia and one of the authors of Whatu Kākahu | Māori Cloaks, talks about being a weaver.
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Banner image: Close-up of the top of a kaitaka (fine flax cloak), 1800–50. Te Papa (ME014336)