Whatu | Weaving
KIRI NATHAN Kākahu garments are hand-woven. The feathers are sourced locally from a small, Māori-owned business. When local sourcing is unavailable, KN ensures ethical sourcing from offshore providers. Feathers are individually prepared and hand-woven into some of the garments. Contemporary and natural fibres are used to weave the kākahu.
All kākahu are proudly woven by wāhine Māori and are 100% Aotearoa New Zealand made. All Kākahu prior to 2022 were personally woven by Kiri Nathan. In 2023, Kiri trained 10 wāhine Māori in weaving, your taonga will have the name and iwi (tribe) of the person who has woven your kākahu.
Korowai, is the name most commonly recognised to describe traditional Māori cloaks However, there are many names to describe the many styles of traditional cloaks that have been handwoven using traditional techniques and natural fibres such as harakeke, muka, pīngao etc.
We refer to our garments as ‘kākahu’ which translates to ‘garments’ because we often use contemporary mediums. We do practice traditional weaving techniques and have developed our garments into contemporary fashion offerings.
It is disrespectful to traditional weavers, who we consider to be the epitome of raranga Māori (Māori weaving), to call any garment that has been constructed or hand-woven from modern mediums by a traditional name. It can take a master weaver up to a year to hand-process and weave natural fibres into a traditional Māori cloak.
Contemporary Māori cloaks are currently made by various providers. Some of these providers create sewn cloaks that can be constructed in a few hours. The kākahu that are created at KIRI NATHAN are hand-woven in traditional techniques using contemporary mediums and should be referred to as kākahu.
Kiri's journey led her back to the marae and kura where she acquired the art of weaving with harakeke, muka, and natural mediums. Combining this traditional knowledge with her formal education in fashion and visual arts, she weaves and ches other wāhine Māori to weave kākahu.