Maori Feather Cloak

Kiwi Feather Cloak   

This is a Yorkshire World Collections object, one of 100 chosen by young people aged 16-24, as part of the London Cultural Olympiad programme Stories of the World.

This is a Maori feather cloak, called a 'kahu kiwi'. It has a very fine geometric patterned border, known as 'taniko'. The cloak is made by inserting feathers from the kiwi bird into a backing of flax. Cloaks such as this were traditionally woven by women for chiefs, and were for ceremonial use only. The cloak was collected by Major Stewart (founder of the Stewart's Burnby Hall Museum), on his first visit to New Zealand in 1906.

Curriculum Links:

Art and Design - Materials

Geogrpahy - Country study
History - Colonialism topics, Comparing and contrasting native cultures.

Discussion Ideas:

  • When do you think this cloak might have been worn?
  • Do some research to find out what kind of bird a Kiwi is
  • If the cloak is made from feathers how do you think it is held together?
  • See if you can find out what kind of material flax is and what it is more commonly known as
  • The Kiwi is a national symbol of New Zealand - in what other situations is the word Kiwi used?
  • Which of these adjectives is the word Kiwi often associated with - weak, colourful or strong?
  • Look at the 'Maori Feather Box' featured in another resource - how many kiwi feathers do you think it would hold?

To follow through these discussion ideas it would be helpful to look at some of the links below

This is a Google Map reference to New Zealand, where Maoris come from

Document icon Learning article provided by: Stewart's Burnby Hall Gardens and Museum | 
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