The weaver of the New Zealand Olympic Committees kakahu (cloak) Te Aue Davis, died on the 28th of November at the age of 85. Ms. Davis holds a special place in the history of the New Zealand Olympic Committee. The cloak, known as Te Mahutonga (Southern Cross), is worn at Olympic Summer and Winter Games Opening Ceremonies by the team flagbearer. Te Mahutonga was presented to the New Zealand Olympic Committee by the Maori Queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, in 2004 and is a symbol of the Maori traditions at the core of our unique team culture. It was first worn by Beatrice Faumuina at the spiritual home of the Olympic Games, Athens, in 2004. The cloak has also been worn by Sean Parker (Torino Winter Olympic Games 2006), Mahe Drydsale (Beijing Olympic Games 2008) and Juliane Bray (Vancouver Winter Olympic Games 2010) at the opening ceremonies of their respective Games. The cloak is not only an exquisite work of art, but a mantle of leadership and spiritual protection. The cloak itself becomes empowered by the status and mana of the wearer. The kakahu was entirely hand woven by Te Aue Davis and took seven months of concentrated work to complete. Great respect was shown for the material throughout the seven month process. The spiritual essence contained in all living things and natural objects was acknowledged through rituals at every step. Te Aue Davis was a renowned kuia (female elder) and weaver involved with Maori arts, and culture and heritage groups. She was known as a Tohunga Raringa (an expert in weaving). She will be known as one of the best weavers in the country (Wahine Raringa). The cloak is currently on display at the Olympic Museum in Wellington. Representatives of the New Zealand Olympic Committee are attending her tangi in the Waikato today.
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