Story: Māori clothing and adornment – kākahu Māori

Huia-feather headdresses

Huia-feather headdresses

Bronwyn Waipuka-Callendar (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Porou and Rangitāne) portrayed the high-born Rangitāne woman Te Aitū o Te Rangi with the white-tipped tail feathers of the huia in her hair. The now-extinct huia had 12 black tail feathers tipped with white. These feathers were prized above all others as head adornments, and signified chiefly status. In May 2024, a single huia feather was sold at auction in Auckland for $46,521, by far the highest price ever paid for a feather.

Using this item

B. Waipuka Art
Artwork by Bronwyn Waipuka

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How to cite this page:

Awhina Tamarapa and Patricia Wallace, 'Māori clothing and adornment – kākahu Māori - Adorning the head', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 June 2024)

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