How to make a korowai cloak


  • Kakahu - Cloak Day Session
  • Art- Matariki Korowai
  • Permanent lockdown political no go
  • My first Korowai
  • They’re not all korowai: a master weaver on how to identify Māori garments
  • The Honour of Wearing The Maori Cloak – or Korowai – A Special Lady and A Maori Tradition
  • Kakahu - Cloak Day Session

    New Zealand was amazing, magical as always and I had a fabulous time and worked with many brilliant teachers. It is still so interesting how the Maori philosophy fits in so well with what we offer in the Golden Model. During my stay, I was even given the very great honour of wearing the Maori cloak of the wise elder — I felt very privileged not only to wear the korowai but also to feel the warmth, positivity and acceptance surrounding it, something that I will always remember.

    The cloak or korowai was lent to me by Carolyne Marino, who attended the Train the Trainers course this Summer. She has very kindly written a guest blog about this wonderful cloak and about her life and educational pursuits, so a big thank you for this below. My cloaking ceremony was extremely humbling. Shortly after my return to work my RTLB cluster 7 held a noho-marae sleep over at a marae. It has been used for this on several occasions.

    My Dad, Karen, Mansel and Fuchsia were there with me. I was part of a group of representative RTLBs. I now have Jenny Mosley and the Circle Time holistic philosophy woven into my korowai.

    I feel immensely fulfilled, and extremely honoured. Thank you so very much Jenny. However, I learned it is more than this. It is your whole life philosophy I love.

    My personal life goal is to be the best person , partner, mother, daughter, sister, aunty, friend, and RTLB I can be and I also want to support others to be the best they can be. Jenny Mosley and Circle Time has touched me in so many beautiful ways. But the most powerful aspect for me were your gifts to us especially your closing massage ceremony, our golden moment from you to us. This was one of the most moving moments. Furthermore, now when I want to remember how to take Circle Time I need only put on my cloak.

    Here are some links to other New Zealand blogs and more information about the links between the Golden Model and the Maori philosophy.

    Art- Matariki Korowai

    Matariki is a time when weaving was taught and practised, and garments were made using the fibres prepared in the previous year.

    It was also a time to reflect and to plan for next year, and plan your planting. If you were a renowned weaver in your area you gave huge economic benefit to your community, your iwi or your hapu your weaving would be traded for food, to add to food stocks.

    In the Pacific Island community if you look at the Rarotongan and their tivaevae practice of making those beautiful embroidered quilts, that is a community experience. You always have one person in charge of the design and the look and the feel of the article, but many help to make it happen.

    You try to keep it up to their standards as far as possible. Preparing to make a korowai Korowai, or cloaks, and the prized kakahu, the feather cloak, could take years to make, and involve large numbers of weavers. So what we do with the flax is we extract the fibre from it and then we roll it into cords by rolling it on our legs.

    So that whole process can take a few months to get it ready to go. A fully feathered cloak can take up to eight birds or more. You have to decide on how you want them to sit there are a couple of different ways of getting them to sit together and we always use at least two feathers together, so they have to be prepared.

    Then the weaving itself, depending on the speed of the weaver that can take another few months. Some cloaks take years. You do it in short bursts. So they did a really good job because they realised how important it was. Weaving as art The process of making the cloak and sharing the knowledge of how to make it and what it means is important.

    A lot of our garments these days carry names because we want to acknowledge them to lift its mana I suppose. I enjoy making pake, raincapes, and just using harakeke and other different fibres neinei which you can get in the alps, and poa, which is a grass that you can get from the alps as well we have pingao, which comes from the beach and kuta, which comes from the rivers and the lakes.

    As soon as metal tools came, we used them, hoes and spades they could see the value in it and it gave them more time. And people have tried other things but the mussel shell works every time, you get the same result and it comes with a left-handed side and a right-handed side. The mussel shell is perfect you carry it on the plane too they tend to take your knives off you. With more and more people focusing on sustainability and preserving the environment as part of their every day lives, Paula points out that fibre artists were careful with the environment.

    Weavers are very, very conservation orientated everything that we do from the moment that we start to take the flax from the flax bush to the finish product is done with conservation in mind.

    So when we take from the plant, we take in a way that helps that plant to regenerate and grow. With all the left-over stuff, we try to find innovative ways of using it so it's not a waste by-product.

    More information.

    Permanent lockdown political no go

    Each student had a go at drawing with different styles and symbols.

    My first Korowai

    Now that we had finished our research and preparation, it was time to get down to business. Each student was given a paper feather to draft their design on. They had to explain the meanings of their design to me before they could get a fabric feather, and copy their design onto that.

    Once the design was pencilled onto the fabric, students chose whether they wanted to use pastel or indian ink to fill in their design. When this was completed, a wash of colour was applied to the entire feather using standard school dye.

    They’re not all korowai: a master weaver on how to identify Māori garments

    Next, each of the feathers were backed with iron-on interfacing. I covered the front of the design with baking paper, to stop the pastel from smudging and transferring. So that whole process can take a few months to get it ready to go. A fully feathered cloak can take up to eight birds or more. You have to decide on how you want them to sit there are a couple of different ways of getting them to sit together and we always use at least two feathers together, so they have to be prepared.

    Then the weaving itself, depending on the speed of the weaver that can take another few months.

    The Honour of Wearing The Maori Cloak – or Korowai – A Special Lady and A Maori Tradition

    Some cloaks take years. You do it in short bursts. So they did a really good job because they realised how important it was. Weaving as art The process of making the cloak and sharing the knowledge of how to make it and what it means is important. She has very kindly written a guest blog about this wonderful cloak and about her life and educational pursuits, so a big thank you for this below. My cloaking ceremony was extremely humbling.

    Shortly after my return to work my RTLB cluster 7 held a noho-marae sleep over at a marae. It has been used for this on several occasions. My Dad, Karen, Mansel and Fuchsia were there with me. I was part of a group of representative RTLBs. I now have Jenny Mosley and the Circle Time holistic philosophy woven into my korowai.


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