National | Korowai

Māori warden emotional as she gifts her last korowai

Māori Warden Zita Smith with Superintendent Tania Kura.  Photo/NZ Police

Well-known Ahuriri Māori Warden Zita Smith has gifted a korowai she made during lockdown to Eastern Police. She says it was especially emotional because it is the last cloak she will make.

Zita Smith, who has been a Māori Warden in Napier for 28 years, spent three weeks of lockdown creating the cloak from native bird feathers, including kiwi, tui, kererū, pūkeko and weka.

The woven blue top of the korowai represents the Ahuriri area and the tides and waves along the East Coast.

Māori Warden Zita Smith presents the korowai to Superintendent Tania Kura.  Photo/NZ Police

Smith told the police's Ten One Magazine the korowai was a token of her appreciation for the support police have given her in her time as a Māori Warden and also during the 27 years she spent as security at the Warehouse in Napier.

“Police have always been there for me when I needed them throughout my time at the Warehouse and as a Māori Warden and I wanted to repay them by creating the korowai.

“Over the years, I have created 20 korowai for various organisations and people but this is my last so it was quite an emotional journey creating it.”

Smith and Superintendent Kura with the korowai and a framed tui photo gifted by Smith's daughter.  Photo/NZ Police

In accepting the korowai, District Commander Superintendent Tania Kura acknowledged the aroha with which the cloak had been made.

“The time, energy and aroha you have put into this korowai makes it incredibly special.”

Exactly when the korowai is to be used still needs to be finalised, however, Smith hopes it can be incorporated into the welcome for new recruits to the Eastern Police District, which extends from the tip of East Cape through to southern Hawke's Bay.

And as if she was not busy enough creating the korowai, Smith also managed to fit in baking for local doctors and nurses during lockdown.