Whatu Kākahu weaves together the stories of the past

By Regan Paranihi

Prominent Māori weavers from around the country gathered in Wellington at Te Papa Museum today for the launch of a new book that weaves together the knowledge and science of Māori weaving to reveal the largest collection of kākahu in the world.

The feathers on the cloaks featured in Whatu Kākahu tell the many stories of the past.

Prominent Māori tā moko artist, Professor Derek Lardelli gave a speech at the launch saying, "We have come here to support the feathers in this book, in this bible."

This is the second edition of the book.

"It's a comprehensive publication that brings together mātauranga, scholarship, knowledge, experience about Māori cloak weaving and how significant it is for Māori and also the world as an indigenous art form."

Book editor, Awhina Tamarapa says she is grateful to be a part of an art that has survived colonisation.

"Māori weaving is a living art form ... we still have these amazing practices and customs that still survive."

Master weaver and teacher Sonia Snowden says Māori need to look to the past in order to move into the future.

"You've got to have traditional to go with the modern ... that's where you learn from- from the traditional."

Te Papa Tongarewa spokesperson Arapata Hakiwai says the cloaks need to be cherished and recognised.

"These taonga should not be hidden on shelves ... they need to be brought out, re-energised and we need to make more."

Whatu Kākahu features the work of many weavers across the country and includes a new chapter about Te Papa's very own cloak collection.