Māori group that loaned Jacinda Ardern their korowai says it was an 'honour'

  • 22/04/2018
Jacinda Ardern wore a traditional Māori korowai to Buckingham Palace.
Jacinda Ardern wore a traditional Māori korowai to Buckingham Palace. Photo credit: Getty

The Māori group that loaned Jacinda Ardern a traditional korowai says it was an "honour" to see her wear it to meet with the Queen.

Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club, a cultural group based in the capital of England, gave the cloak to the Prime Minister for her visit to Buckingham Palace.

Photos of Ms Ardern wearing the korowai over her dress have been met with worldwide admiration.

Ngāti Rānana responded to the praise for their garment with a post on their official Facebook page, in which they said it was an "honour" to loan the Prime Minister the cloak.

A korowai is a traditional Māori garment which is worn on special occasions. It is painstakingly constructed by hand using flax and feathers.

This particular korowai was originally made for a woman named Gretchen to wear at her wedding, and was given to Ngāti Rānana on 'permanent loan' when she moved back to New Zealand.

Gretchen was quoted in the post as saying she was "but an instrument" for the cloak, and that she appreciates that Ms Ardern wore her korowai to meet Queen Elizabeth.

"I will bathe in the aroha for a minute knowing the korowai has graced the shoulders of two exceptional ladies, in the presence of another incredible lady. And not forgetting the skilled hands that created this beautiful korowai."

The same korowai was worn by Ngāti Rānana founder Whaea Esther Jessop when she met the Queen at Westminster Abbey for Commonwealth Day in March.

Ms Ardern visited Buckingham Palace as part of her whirlwind European tour. In the past week she has also met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, UK Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron.