Gift cloak long ago Dreaming cloak was presented to Te Papa Museum in 2011 during a cultural exchange ceremony honoring the renewal of ancient wisdoms, Laws and songs that hold the world together. The cloak is a gift honouring Maori people as the traditional custodians of Aotearoa – the homelands where we now harvest our possum skins.


(above) Smoking the cloak as part of the gifting ceremony, 2011 photo courtesy Te Papa.

Long ago, our possum was introduced to your country and has since been declared vermin in New Zealand and listed as a protected species in Australia. The recent cultural revival of possum skin cloaks – one of our most sacred south-eastern traditions – might not have happened if we weren’t able to import the large number of skins that we do. We acknowledge our relationships with Maori peoples and the inspiration we’ve gained from your cloak traditions, the strength of your cultures and your wonderful weavers.

Lee Darroch


(above) yuunggama-titj kooramook baparra-bannarrak nanyuk biganga 2011.

(above) Gifted from Senior cloak makers (l-r) Lee Darroch, Maree Clarke, Vicki Couzens and curator Amanda Reynolds with the support and guidance of the Banmirra Arts Board: Aunty Frances Bond, Vicki Couzens, Jason Eades, Brian Stevens, Lee Darroch, Maree Clarke and Niyoka Bundle; and the assistance of Stella Stories and the Raymond Island Stitchers.