HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two cherished artifacts once gifted to Captain Cook in the 18th century can once again call Hawaii home.
An ʻahu ʻula and mahiole, (feather cloak and traditional helmet) once owned by Hawaiian Chief Kalani’opu’u will be held in trust by Bishop Museum.
The items have been on display at the museum since 2016, but they were on a long-term loan from the Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa.
Te Papa curators say they are honored to bring the treasures home and reconnect them with the Hawaiian land and people.
“These priceless treasures have so much to tell us about our shared Pacific history. We are honoured to be able to return them home, to reconnect them with their land and their people,” said Arapata Hakiwai, Kaihautū (Māori co-leader) of Te Papa.
The museums say the items were given to Cook in 1779 a short time after Cook landed in Kealakekua Bay.
As noted by Cook’s Lieutenant James King, the chief “got up & threw in a graceful manner over the Captn’s Shoulders the Cloak he himself wore, & put a feathered Cap upon his head...”
“Te Papa was founded on the principle of Mana Taonga, which recognises the deep connections of taonga to their source communities. Returning these taonga to Hawai’i is a powerful example of that principle in action,” Dr Hakiwai added.