Whatu Kākahu | Māori Cloaks (Second Edition)

Book Author Awhina Tamarapa
Rights Available World excl. NZ

A celebration of the science and art of Māori weaving, focused on the largest collection of Māori cloaks in the world.

Weaving is more than just a product of manual skills. From the simple rourou (food basket) to the prestigious kahukiwi (kiwi feather cloak), weaving is endowed with the very essence of the spiritual values of Māori people.

This award-winning book opens the storeroom doors of the Te Papa Tongarewa Māori collections, illuminating the magnificent kākahu in those collections and the art and tradition of weaving itself. More than fifty rare and precious kākahu are featured within this book, with glossy colour detail illustrations of each, plus historical and contextual images and graphic diagrams of weaving techniques. These are accompanied by engaging descriptions bringing together information on every cloak – its age, materials, and weaving technique with quotes from master weavers and other experts, stories of the cloaks, details of their often remarkable provenance, discussion of how the craft is being revived and issues to do with cloaks held in international museums.

A full glossary, illustrated guide to cloak types, and index are included. Contemporary cloaks made with novel materials also feature.

Commended for AAANZ Book Prizes – Best Art Writing by a NZ Māori or Pasifika 2019

About the Author
Awhina Tamarapa
(Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Pikiao) holds a Bachelor of Māori Laws and Philosophy from Te Wānanga o Raukawa, Otaki, and a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University, Wellington, where she majored in Anthropology. She has worked in museums for more than 10 years, including as concept developer and collection manager at Te Papa.


Te Papa Press


290x 237 mm


Non Fiction

Art & History

Age range
Young Adult & Upwards

Publication Date
August 2019

Rights Available:
World excl. NZ

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... a definitive work on the subject, showcases 40 distinctive kakahu from Te Papa's large collection ... Beautifully illustrated and richly informative ...' - New Zealand Geographic; 'Ranging from the primitive and precious, through the unique and prestigious, to their contemporary reincarnation, Whatu Kakahu is the definitive description of Maori cloaks in Te Papa's collections. Illustrated throughout with stunning photographs that document the subtle beauty of these cultural treasures ...