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The Coming of the Maori

Cloak Pins

Cloak Pins

Cloak pins (au rei) made of whale ivory, bone, and sometimes shell and nephrite are a local invention made to go with another invention, the flaxfibre cloak. They are curved, pointed at one end, and perforated at the other for the cord attachment to the cloak. In use, they pinned the side edges of the cloak together on the right side, but they usually figured as ornaments attached by the cord to the neck border of the cloak above the right shoulder. The name au retains the Polynesian term for the thatch needle and rei refers to the whale ivory from which some of them were made. However the full term au rei has come to be a general term for all ornaments of this form. Both the whale-ivory and greenstone pins were of social value, and the chiefly possessor of more than one grouped them together in a cluster so that they made a sound when the owner shrugged his shoulder to attract attention to them.