Aug 23, 2015

Kahu-Kiwi cloak | New Zealand

This is an amazing postcard from New Zealand. It shows a Maori girl in Kiwi feather cloak. 'This highly prized cloak is ornamented with Kiwi feathers and is a Kahu-Kiwi cloak, usually worn for ceremonial occasions.'

Maori cloaks with feather decoration may not have been popular in the period before European contact. About forty cloaks were collected on Captain Cook's voyages, but few bear the traces of feathers. Mick Pendergrast, a specialist in Maori textiles, comments that cloaks decorated fully with feathers seem to have appeared in the mid-nineteenth century. They became popular by the 1880s, and remain prestigious garments today. 

Feathered cloaks are often extremely colourful, using pheasant, parrot, peacock and domestic fowl feathers. Sometimes dyed feathers are incorporated into cloaks. Feathered cloaks are normally worked in an upside-down position, starting at the lower edge. The work is suspended between weaving sticks, without using a loom. Vertical warp threads are arranged between the sticks and the wefts are twined across them. The feathers are attached during the twining process. [British Museum]

In the back there is a Tauranga postal stamp with the date 19 February 1979. The handwriting says: 'Dear Margaret, we are on our last stages now of our tour of New Zealand. I shall take it easily at that seaside bungalow, where the beach is within a minute walk. What a wonderful country. We never cease to admire the scenery and many other things. 
We expect to be home on March 5th, going just to San Fransisco for 2 nights. 
I'm afraid it has been a very tiring winter for youin England, one of those years when all the bad things come at once. I do hope it will be followed, as in 1947 by a lovely summer. Look forward to seeing you again then. 
Much love, Nina'

Well, I do hope that Margaret had a lovely summer and no more bad things happened to her.

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