Cloak of honour for Pakuranga College principal

As the traditional garment has to be stored out of sunlight, Michael Williams is planning to have the korowai professionally photographed and framed. Photo supplied.

Michael Williams, principal of Pakuranga College, was pleasantly surprised by a special gift he recently received of a beautiful korowai by the family of Carl Taka.

A korowai is a Maori cloak, a symbol of prestige and honour. He proudly wore it for the Year 9 powhiri last week.

Carl is a student of Pakuranga College who received the Te Ramaroa Maori Leadership Award for Senior Male Maori Student in 2018.

The korowai was designed and made by Carl’s mother Shirley Chapman and the design incorporates the school emblem and the kapa haka uniform.

Carl gathered the feathers himself from a farm in Maromaku.

The family also gifted a carved ceremonial staff to the school and this was used by the Head of Maori Department Heemi Gilbert for his address at the powhiri. It was made by Carl’s father who also carved the plaque that currently sits above the doorway to the hall.

As the traditional garment has to be stored out of sunlight, the college is planning to have  the korowai professionally photographed and framed with some information about the design and the donors.

Shirley says: “Please accept this koha from the Taka family to Pakuranga College for the support and care shown to Carl Taka over the last five years.

“This kakahu is of contemporary design, made using traditional methods. The tariko reflects the college’s kapa haka uniforms, with the school emblem incorporated in the upper centre tariko. The materials used are mop roll, bamboo cotton, wool, turkey feathers and peacock feathers harvested by Carl from Maromaku.”


  1. Hey, Thanks for the great well-written article about the Koha 🙂 We just wanted to say that the “carved ceremonial staff” was actually gifted by a Maori support teacher, Mrs. Sidwell! As it was her last days with the school she wanted to leave by gifting something special to the school so she commissioned my father to carve the Tokotoko for Matua Hemi!

  2. Hi Carl, thank you so much for letting us know! We will make sure Mrs Sidwell receives a big thank you from us at the school.

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