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The Coming of the Maori

Dress Cloaks

Dress Cloaks

For the manufacture of superior garments with the two-pair interlocking weft, the fibre was well washed, beaten, and rubbed between the hands to whiten and soften the material. The long warps were prepared by rolling the appropriate thickness of fibres on the bare thigh in a single twist so that they resembled yarn. The wefts were formed of threads of unbeaten fibre.

A plain cloak (parakiri) used by commoners or for rough wear was made without any ornamentation. The better cloaks were distinguished and named from the form of ornamentation which was applied to the outer surface of the warps and fixed by the crossing weft in the process of manufacture. The decoration took the form of black cord tags, pompoms, feathers, and flaxen rolls. The method of attaching rain tags and decorative elements is shown in Figure 30b-g.

The long ends of the warps, left free after completing the last weft row, were made into neck borders of different types (91, p. 184) which departed from the thick three-ply braid of rain capes and rain cloaks.

The main classes of cloaks made with the two-pair weft and with decoration on the outer surface are as follows:

page 170
1.Tag cloaks (korowai): decorated with short doubled lengths of closely twisted two-ply cord dyed black (Pl. XII). A variety termed karure was formed of loosely twisted black cords which appear as if the cords were unravelling. Undyed cords were also used in a garment named hima.
2.Pompom cloaks (ngore): with pompoms of dyed flax but red worsted was much preferred after trade contact.
3.Feather cloaks (kahu huruhuru): feathers from various birds were used and when the feathers from one kind of bird were mostly used, the cloak was specifically named after the bird. Thus a cloak of kiwi feathers was named kahu kiwi. The most valuable cloak was covered entirely with the red feathers from beneath the wings of the kaka parrot and from the chiefly red colour, it was named kahu kura. Various combinations in rectangular patches were made with differently coloured feathers such as the white breast feathers and the green neck feathers of the native pigeon. See Plate XIII.
4.Cloaks with flaxen rolls (waikawa): ornamented with flaxen rolls like those in dance kilts and the superior type of cape.

In post-European times, coloured worsteds were much used to form twisted cords and pompoms and to decorate panels along the side and lower borders. Many composite garments were made in which tufts of feathers, cord tags, and flaxen rolls were distributed over the same garment.