Story: Māori clothing and adornment – kākahu Māori

Residents of Dusky Bay, 1770

Residents of Dusky Bay, 1770

This romanticised 1820 lithograph by an unknown French artist is based on drawings made 50 years earlier during British explorer James Cook's first and second voyages to New Zealand (1767–70 and 1772–75). It purports to show a Māori chief and his family in Dusky Bay (now Dusky Sound, Fiordland), whose clothing and general appearance was evidently of great importance to them. When Cook visited the people of this area in their homes, he found them 'in their very best, with their hair, combed and oiled, tied upon the crowns of their heads, and stuck with white feathers'. Their chief had earlier asked Cook to make him a cloak of red cloth, and when this was given to him he responded by giving Cook the mere (club) hanging at his waist.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-442-001

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Awhina Tamarapa and Patricia Wallace, 'Māori clothing and adornment – kākahu Māori - Ngā taonga tuku iho – traditional Māori dress', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/40977/residents-of-dusky-bay-1770 (accessed 15 December 2019)

Story by Awhina Tamarapa and Patricia Wallace, published 5 Sep 2013