Feather adornment on stage

Earlier last year Rob and I went on a road trip to Rotorua to go and check out their regional Kapahaka competitions.  I am never disappointed when I go and watch Kapahaka in Te Arawa.

One thing that I’ve noticed, and which brings me to  this blog, is the renaissance of feather pohoi (neck and ear adornment) on stage. One performer, in particular, who I believe is partly responsible for this revival is Mataia Keepa of Te Matarae I Orehu. Here pictured above he wears a kahu or hawk wing.

Traditionally, the Toroa’s (Albatross) prized white feathers were worn on important occasions by leading men. Toroa feathers used as plumes are known as raukura or kaiwharawhara. Soft feathers from the belly were made into pōhoi toroa – feather ball earrings. There is also the pōhoi Huia, an ornament made from the skin of the Huia, which was highly valued. The bird was skinned with the beak, skull and wattles attached, while the legs and wings were removed. The skin was dried and the resulting pōhoi ornament was worn from the neck or ears.

Next month Te Matatini - New Zealand’s national kapa haka competition and premiere Maori cultural performing arts festival will be held in Rotorua. For more infomation go to http://www.tematatini.co.nz

Photo care of Mataia Keepa.

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