Story: Māori clothing and adornment – kākahu Māori

Pōhoi toroa – albatross-feather ear ornament

Pōhoi toroa – albatross-feather ear ornament

Both men and women traditionally pierced their ears to display pendants, feathers and other ornaments in them. In this 1840 watercolour by Charles Heaphy, Ngāti Toa chief Te Rangihaeata wears a pōhoi toroa, a ball-shaped ear ornament made of albatross feathers. He also has huia feathers in his hair and is wearing a kahu kiwi (kiwi-feather cloak) denoting his high status.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: C-025-022
Watercolour by Charles Heaphy

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 - Amulets and ornaments', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/41022/pohoi-toroa-albatross-feather-ear-ornament (accessed 9 July 2020)

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