Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Huia Korowai

Some time ago I was asked by a friend to make a Korowai for Isabel to wear on the marae and be warm.
It was decided the Huia bird would be the inspiration.
The Huia was sacred to the Maori and the wearing of its skin or feathers was reserved for people of high status.
Its numbers were on the decline when Europeans settled in New Zealand.
It was a rare bird treasured for its plumage.  It had a bold and inquisitive nature.  It wasn't good eating but its tail feathers were valued highly and exchanged among tribes for goods such as pounamu and shark teeth.  
It became popular for taxidermied species in European museums which hurried it to its extinction.
I started with a blanket which has found a loving home.
Its taken a few iterations to get the cloak the way I wanted.
I live with a photographer and his visiting mates and some of their 'lingo' has rubbed off.  The white became the "point of focus" and every time I looked at the cloak white is all I saw so ...
I shifted the draw cord so one just saw a peep of the white tail feathers
which worked better visually but when I tried it on it was a pain to get sitting right.
To my mind a cloak should be able to be thrown around the shoulders and off you go so ...
I undid the hems, facings and front edge and turned the white band to the inside and now the focus is the rusty orange representing the Huia's wattle and you just get a flash of the white when walking or sitting.

Close up of wattle stripe.  Note the fine green rayon thread reflecting the green iridescence
of the black feathers.


  1. This must have been a heck of a satisfying project, Dianne Cograts! And I don't believe the SuperGold story; I looked it up. I think this is a fake ID.

  2. Hi Meg, The korowai was fun to work on. Glad to hear you are back at your looms.
    Winston Peters arranged for the Super Gold Card for seniors (when you get your pension at 65yrs) in exchange for support in Parliament - I can't remember which government.
    For instance I can get 10% off accommodation in Tokoroa.

  3. The cloak is amazing. I bet woven cloaks will become the new fashion, instead of plucking bird feathers.

  4. What a great project and I loved learning the inspiration story...lovely cloak.