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Kahu Ora: Living Cloaks

Start Date 08 June 2012
End Date 21 October 2012
Venue Te Papa Tongarewa (Museum of New Zealand)
Location Wellington, New Zealand
Curator Awhina Tamarapa
Exhibition display of fur cloaks in glass case in foreground
Exhibition display space with large screen and dividers

Kahu Ora | Living Cloaks
8 June – 21 October 2012
Free entry
Visa Platinum Gallery, Te Papa

A tribute to the art of Māori cloak weaving

Latest free exhibition to open at Te Papa, Kahu Ora | Living Cloaks, celebrates the specialist art form of kākahu (Māori cloak weaving), and weavers, as the maintainers of this precious knowledge. Opening 8 June, the exhibition draws knowledge directly from the Te Papa collection and the research from Whatu Kākahu: Māori Cloaks.

“The aim of this exhibition is to share the knowledge and research of our curators and in combination with the publication opens our doors to the largest kākahu collection in the world,” says Michael Houlihan.

Featuring customary and contemporary taonga, the exhibition covers the cultural and spiritual symbolism of weaving, the connections and relationships between people and cloaks, the science and technology of cloak weaving, the innovation from European influence through to the revival of cloak weaving from the 1950’s to today.

“Being able to share the stories of these kākahu with the nation is a celebration and a tribute to the art of Māori weaving” says editor and Curator at Te Papa, Awhina Tamarapa.

The exhibition tells the stories of significant and rare cloaks including a special, one of a kind dog skin cloak, on loan from the Puke Ariki museum, New Plymouth. This cloak is made of eight whole dog pelts, stitched together with dog hide, made 1810–1815, is the only one in existence.

Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the complexity and specialised skill sets required for the living, dynamic art form of kākahu with live weaving demonstrations in the exhibition.

For further information, interview requests, or images, please contact:

Roxan Mathys – Manager, Communications (Acting), 029 601 0180 or (04) 381 7021,

Publication: Te Kanawa, Rangi, Awhina Tamarapa and Anne Peranteau. “Kahu Ora: Living Cloaks, Living Culture.” In Refashioning and Redress: Conserving and Displaying Dress, eds. Brooks, Mary M., and Dinah D. Eastop, 65-78. Los Angeles: The Getty Conservation Institute.

Images courtesy of Te Papa. Photo by Norm Heke / Te Papa.