A cloak made of love, from a brother to his sister

By Te Kuru o te Marama Dewes
  • North Island: East Coast

David Jones of Rongowhakaata is weaving his love for his sister Erica Jones who passed away in 2018 into a Korowai.

“Everything about it, the threads are muka (fibre), it has been weaved with harakeke (flax), the flax has been harvested from here from this very street, it has been fashioned into clothing”, says David Jones.

Erica Jones passed away last year. She had previously asked her brother to make her a cloak to wear at her graduation.

“I wasn't taught how to weave I just let my soul guide me in this work... I woke up from a dream where I saw this cloak so based on that vision, one must do what needs to be done”, says Jones.

Erica Jones worked at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, developing a relationship between Rongowhaata and the museum through the Rongowhakaata exhibition.  

David Jones says, “This treasured flax resource has been turned into a piece to commemorate the Rongowhakaata exhibition and as a special symbol to remember my little sister.”

Te Kapa Haka o Whāngārā Mai Tawhiti paid special tribute to Erica Jones at the National Te Matatini Kapa Haka competition over the weekend.

“Although she has passed away, it's a way to remember her. There are sacred rites within the taonga for the family, for the hapū and the wider iwi”, says Jones.

The cloak is now on display in the Rongowhakaata exhibition at Te Papa Tongarewa.