11 Mar 2016

Captain Cook cloak returns to Hawai'i

3:08 pm on 11 March 2016

A feather cloak and helmet given to Captain Cook more than 200 years ago has been returned to the people of Hawai'i.

Hawaiian helmet presented to Captain Cook

Photo: RNZ / Elliott Childs

A large powhiri was held at Te Papa Museum in Wellington this morning to return the priceless items Cook received in 1779.

The 'ahu'ula (cloak) and mahiole (helmet) were a gift from the Hawaiian chief Kalani'ōpu'u to Captain Cook, and have been in Te Papa's collection since being given to the national museum in 1912.

Hawaiian cloak given to Captain Cook

Photo: RNZ / Elliott Childs

The orange and cream cloak is made from feathers plucked from 20,000 birds.

The items were of a design reserved for royalty.

A 50-strong Hawaiian delegation were welcomed at the museum this morning.

The items will return to Hawai'i next week and go on display at the Bishop Museum from 19 March.

The Ahu Ula gifted to Captain Cook.

The Ahu Ula gifted to Captain Cook. Photo: supplied