Kahu kiwi sold for $72,000, museum gutted by auction

08 August 2023

NZ Herald, 4 Aug 2023

A 160 year old kahu kiwi cloak repatriated from Australia has been privately sold for $72,895 at auction, despite some interests trying to get it into public hands.

The cloak, believed to have been meticulously crafted by a wāhine in the mid-1800s, had been in the possession of a Sydney family for more than 160 years. However, after several months of collaboration with Webb’s auction house, they worked to repatriate it to Aotearoa.

Auckland War Memorial Museum pou ārahi curator Māori Dr Kahutoi Te Kanawa had expressed deep concerns about the sale before the auction started. Te Kanawa revealed Auckland Museum had offered to accept the cloak as a gift, or buy it from the Australian owner who inherited it.

The decision to take it to auction was made by the family. In positive news, the family registered it under the Protected Objects Act 1975, receiving a “Y registration”, which prohibits its export.

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Image: Kahu Kiwi from Webb's