Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Question: Prince William's Cloak

During his recent tour of New Zealand, Prince William was photographed wearing a cloak with feathers. Can you tell me the significance of it?

The cloak that Prince William is wearing is made from kiwi feathers called a korowai. It is also referred to as a kahu kiwi - the most prestigious form of kahu huruhuru (feather cloak). Kiwi's are the national symbol of New Zealand and the feathers are particularly important to the Maori, who traditionally believe that they are under the protection of the Tane Mahuta, god of the forest. The feathers are used for ceremonial cloaks, which denote status, identifying the owner as a chief or someone of great prestige and position. It is a gift granted only to people of high rank and is highly prized as a family and personal heirloom. Some believe that the cloak becomes empowered by the mana (status) of its owner and the mana increases when it is worn.

© Marilyn Braun 2010


CJB said...

Hmm - but I understood that kiwis were having a hard time surviving the onslught of feral cats, dogs and possums. So how come the Maoris have been allowed to kill hundreds to provide feathers for the cloaks given to the Queen, Philip, William and indeed Elton John.

Marilyn Braun said...

According to this link, Kiwi's are no longer killed to make cloaks.