Kaitaka (cloak)


Te Papa

Te Papa
Wellington, New Zealand

Possibly the earliest examples of Maori garments in Te Papa are two finely woven, unfinished kaitaka (fine cloaks), believed to be collected from the third voyage of Captain James Cook to New Zealand in 1777. According to museum records, these and other items were sent to the Dominion Museum (predecessor to Te Papa) in 1955, from Britain's Imperial Institute.They arrived in a box labelled; "Articles bought by Captain James Cook." Kaitaka were prestigeous cloaks that were recorded and collected by early European explorers. However, they were scarce by the 1840's, with cultural change having an effect on the production of customary practices and art-forms. This kaitaka, although unfinished, is an exquisite example of cloak weaving. Although further investigation regarding its historical association is required, the skill of the weaver is evident. Its meticulous, detailed construction and restrained aesthetic is consistent with the mid-late 18th century cloaks that were collected on Cook's voyages now in British and European museums.


  • Title: Kaitaka (cloak)
  • Date Created: 1700/1776
  • Location Created: New Zealand
  • Physical Dimensions: w1120 x h1170 mm
  • Type: cloaks
  • Rights: Gift of The Imperial Institute, 1955
  • External Link: Te Papa
  • Medium: Muka
  • weaver: Unknown
  • Object classification: cloaks; costume
  • Material terms: muka

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps