Story: Māori clothing and adornment – kākahu Māori

Chief's son, 1769

Chief's son, 1769

Sydney Parkinson was one of several artists on James Cook's first voyage to New Zealand. In 1769 Parkinson drew this portrait of the son of a Bay of Islands chief. His smoothly groomed hair was probably dressed with sweet smelling oil from tītoki berries, or perhaps the less fragrant shark liver oil, before being drawn up at the back of his head into a piki (a small tight barrel roll). He wears a tall titireia (a large whalebone comb) inserted upright in the back of his hair and a rei puta (whale-tooth pendant) hanging from an intricate 8- or 12-strand plaited cord, fastened at the back of his neck with a bone toggle. A pounamu (greenstone) pendant and two teeth are suspended from his ear lobe, and he wears a finely woven, flexible garment with a decorative horizontal element, and an au rei (bone cloak pin), at the front.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-111-105
Engraving by Sydney Parkinson

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 - Hairstyles', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 25 July 2024)

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