Make a Korowai (feather cloak) with paper feathers! Korowai are taonga (treasures) that are often worn on special occasions.
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How to Make a Korowai (feather cloak)

Make a Korowai (feather cloak) with paper feathers.

Korowai are taonga (treasures) that are often worn on special occasions.

  • Feather template
  • Brown paper (cloak backing)
  • Pencils/ markers/ crayons
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Glue

Cut and shape brown paper as a cape, attach a band at the top, approx. 5cm x 100cm made from white cardboard/ paper. The band can be decorated by residents using colours black, white and red (see notes below).

Cut feathers from template onto white cardboard or paper.

On each feather discuss and write a word that describes the type of people we have in our community; Honest, Responsible, Happy etc.

Also have some feathers with Maori words on them.

Give each resident 2 or 3 feathers to decorate and then glue or staple onto the brown paper to make the Maori cloak.

This idea came from a New Zealand school.

Maori Words to Put on Cloak

Haere mai (Welcome! Come!)

Aotearoa (New Zealand, long white cloud)

aroha (love)

karakia (prayer)

kaumatua (elder)

maunga (mountain)

tama (son, young man, youth)

tamāhine (daughter)

tamariki (children)

wai (water)

waiata (song or chant)

whānau (extended family)

whenua (land, homeland)

50 Maori Words Every New Zealander Should Know


The finest Maori designs on textiles are those found in taniko, the coloured borders of cloaks, made of fine flax fibre. These designs were usually worked in black, red, and white. The common designs used in plaited work include nihotaniwha (dragon's teeth), a large triangle; nihoniho (little teeth), a series of small triangles; waharua (double mouth) a diamond-shaped outline; and kaokao (armpits), a motif shaped like a roman 'W' or 'M'.


A Quick History to Discuss with Residents

The first Māori settlers brought weaving to Aotearoa New Zealand, adapting the art form to make cloaks for the cold climate. Among the most prestigious of kākahu (garments) were the kahu kurī, or dog-skin and dog-hair cloaks.

These could be worn with the hair side inwards to keep the wearer warm, but were more often worn with the hair side outwards, so that their flamboyance and style displayed their owner’s chiefly status. The full-feather cloak appears to have flourished from the second half of the 19th century, and has become the most prestigious cloak.

Red kākā-feather cloaks were especially highly prized. Throughout the Pacific the colour red symbolised power, sacredness and prestige. The chiefly qualities of the kākā contributed to the status of this type of cloak. Its feathers symbolised warmth and protection, as well as stunning beauty.

Other native bird feathers prized for cloaks include the kiwi, kererū (wood pigeon), kākāpō, tūī, kākāriki (parakeet), toroa (albatross) and many others.


Files included:

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Feather Pattern

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Comments   Post a Comment

Tracey 11th Jan 2019 Activity Coordinator
Joanne 11th Jan 2019 Lifestyle Coordinator
HI Tracey,
Glad to hear that your residents enjoyed it.
Talita 4th Feb 2018
What a lovely activity Joanne, thanks for sharing!
Joanne 4th Feb 2018 Lifestyle Coordinator
A new activity has been posted by a Golden Carers member: Waitangi Day Craft Activity
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