kahukuri (1)

Taken by Associate Editor Priscilla Wehi.

The Kahukuri 

Many indigenous communities care for beautiful works of art, such as the kahukurī or dog skin cloak shown here. This cloak, woven from New Zealand flax (Phormium tenax) with carefully tied tufts of white dog hair, commemorates the life of a chief and his relationship with his dogs. Such treasures are also cared for at museums around the world, but in these places are often dissociated from their histories. In my work, I help to return a voice to these treasures using both scientific and historical analyses. I am exploring the relationships between people and their dogs through stable isotope analyses of dog hair that tell us about the diet these dogs were fed, and how they moved across the landscape. This work also shows how integrative and collaborative research can answer questions that have meaning and relevance for underrepresented groups, and enrich both researchers and community. Nō reira, e te iwi, he mihi nui ki a koutou. Ko taku tumanako  ka hikitia ngā mahi a ngā tīpuna e te rangahau nei.