Jacinda Ardern Wears Korowai to Meet the Queen
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern turned heads at Buckingham Palace last week, wearing a traditional Māori korowai to a state banquet of world leaders.
The korowai was loaned to Ardern by the Ngāti Rānana London Māori Club, who said it was the second time it had been worn in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II.
“The Queen encountered this particular korowai … meeting our Whaea Esther at the Westminster Abbey for the Commonwealth Day Service,” the club said.
Describing it as an “honour” to loan Ardern the korowai, honorary president Whaea Esther Jessop QSM told CNN the garment had been made for a wedding years ago and, upon its original owner’s departure for Italy, it was given on permanent loan to the club.
“The korowai is a traditional, very special garment and it’s usually worn by dignitaries and chiefly persons, both male and female,” Jessop said.
Jessop said it had been made by using a special weaving technique to combine flax fibre and feathers.
The korowai has garnered massive attention on social media with many people praising Ardern for her choice of outfit representing her country’s indigenous Māori population.
Ardern was in London for the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, held approximately every two years for members of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
Original article by Ben Westcott, CNN, April 20, 2018.