New Zealand leader in Kahu huruhuru praised as proud moment for female leaders and Māori worldwide

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern has caused a stir with a striking image of her walking the halls of Buckingham Palace swathed in a traditional Māori cloak during this week’s Commonwealth heads of government meeting.

The prime minister wore a Kahu huruhuru; a Māori cloak adorned with feathers and bestowed on chiefs and dignitaries to convey prestige, respect and power, said Mark Sykes, guardian of Māori special collections at Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand.

Sykes said Ardern’s choice was a proud moment for Māori around the world. “Cloaks are worn for warmth, protection and to symbolise your status and mana [power],” said Sykes. “I think it shows how she is portraying herself as a leader of Māori, of all of New Zealand, of everyone. It made me feel proud. She wore it well. She wore it so well.”

On social media in New Zealand the striking image went viral, with many people commenting that the picture captured the inversion of traditional gender roles; a female world leader wearing a powerful cloak while pregnant and representing her country.

There are more than 10 varieties of Māori cloak, broadly referred to as Korowai, and the Kahu huruhuru become prestigious from the mid-1800s, with Kiwi feather cloaks the most valuable and sought after. Two of them were given to the Queen and Prince Philip on their 1954 tour of New Zealand, and were later worn by other members of the royal family when they visited the country.

According to Te Papa, in the Māori world birds were given the task of carrying spiritual messages between the gods and people, and their feathers were prized and sacred.

Ardern’s Kahu huruhuru has been loaned to her from the London Māori club Ngāti Rānana.

Modern-day Kahu huruhuru are often made from the feathers of birds killed by predators or on motorways, because many native New Zealand birds such as the Kereru and Pukeko are endangered and protected species.



“I accept this award, but I wonder what is in my future by accepting this lifetime achievement award” joked Studi as he spoke about the importance of more American Indians becoming involed in the acting profession.

Wes Studi (Cherokee) was given this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Indian Gaming Association at its annual tradeshow and convention in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

“I accept this award, but I wonder what is in my future by accepting this lifetime achievement award” joked Studi as he spoke about the importance of more American Indians becoming involed in the acting profession.

He also spoke about the importance of strong economic development in Indian Country. Studi said there is no reason why American Indians should not become movie makers as a means for economic development.

In January 2018, Studi discussed his Cherokee heritage on NPR. In March, he Studi became only the second American Indian to speak at the Oscars. Sacheen Littlefeather (White Mountain Apache and Yaqui) was the first in 1974.

Studi’s most recent role is in “Hostiles.”

Now, as time goes on, I hope to find one where I can be in the lead. You know, I think that's every actor's dream, actually, to play lead parts. But no, it doesn't bother me because I've realized from the get-go that this is not a story about my character. My character adds to the story, and is an integral part of it all, but it is not about my character.

Zoo authorities in China say a kangaroo has been killed and another injured at Fuzhou Zoo in south-eastern Fujian province after visitors threw rocks into their enclosure.

Local media said the 12-year-old female kangaroo was "pelted" with rocks by visitors, with a sharp stone injuring its left foot and causing bleeding.

An autopsy reportedly showed the kangaroo probably died due to a ruptured kidney, after zookeepers treated the animal's injured foot but did not realise it was bleeding internally.

A few days later, a visitor allegedly threw part of a brick into the kangaroo enclosure, injuring a five-year-old male — but it is expected to make a full recovery.

Fuzhou Zoo's kangaroo breeder told Chinese media visitors sometimes throw stones to make the marsupials wake up or jump around.

The zoo has reportedly now applied for funding to install high-definition surveillance cameras.

It has also decided to only allow three of their kangaroos to be on show for visitors, while the body of the dead female kangaroo will be preserved and put on display.

"The battle between man and sea takes a very unexpected turn as these predatory beings return to reclaim their right to the ocean."

Gil Birmingham is an American actor of Comanche ancestry, best known for his portrayal of Billy Black in The Twilight Saga film series.

Rena Owen is an international award-winning actor and is one of only 6 actors in the world to have worked with both George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg during her illustrious career that spans 3 decades.

One of 9 children, she was born and bred in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand to a Maori/Welsh Father and a European Mother. She was first published at 8 when she won a national children's poetry contest, and throughout her youth, Owen was active in the Maori Culture Club, High School Musical productions, and Community Stage Plays. Despite knowing her talents were in creativity, upon graduating, the Arts were not considered a viable career.

"Siren" takes us inside Bristol Cove--a coastal town known for its legend of once being home to mermaids. When the arrival of a mysterious girl proves this legend all too true, the battle between man and sea takes a very unexpected turn as these predatory beings return to reclaim their right to the ocean.

Of Water Spirits and Men: Mermaids in Native American Mythology

In fact, mermaids are an integral part of Native American mythology and many legends are told of their encounters with humans.

In Native American myths, mermaids are the protagonists of often bittersweet tales that focus on their interactions with humans. Often, individuals are turned into mermaids as a consequence of their actions or choices – highlighting both the impact of our own decisions and how defiance of rules works in isolating us from others. The Passamaquoddy, nowadays one of the most active tribes in Maine, have a tale called He Nwas, the Mermaid, about two women who do not heed the advice they’ve been given and go swimming in the sea where they are supposed not to go. As they repeatedly deceived their elders to feel the fun of swimming unattended, one day they find that after they left their clothes at the beach and swam towards a nearby island, they felt too heavy and unable to return to the shore. As their father searched for them, they realized they had transformed into beautiful mermaids and consoled their grieving family by promising that they would help them carry on the water in their canoe.

HAIDA design Mermaid dance with dolphin

A Sekani myth recounts the story of a mermaid who is captured by a man when he ties her long hair to a tree. He marries her and keeps her with him for a whole winter, but during their second winter together, the man is unable to provide enough food for both of them, so he lets her go back into the sea. She returns regularly with food and they go on to live happily together and start a family. One day she decides to go back into the sea and rubs family members’ mouths with water so that they can follow her into the ocean. They dive in together and are never seen again.

Mermaid Haida Design

Water Spirits and Spirits of the Flood: Mermaids as Embodiment of Nature

On a different note, we find a description of how the first mermen were created in the Potawatomi cosmogony. They tell the story of six men who were good friends and great adventurers, who one day set out to visit the Sun and talk to him. They ask him for eternal life and the ability to give back to their fellow men – and one of them, who wants to be associated with water, is turned into the first merman, taking the form of half man and half fish. Only the last of the six men wishes to remain as he was and return to the human race.

In another myth, the enchanted mermaid Menanna is taken in by an Ottawa warrior, but she will not be released from the spell that deprived her of her human form until she finds true love. Yet, she falls in love with Piskaret, of an enemy tribe called the Adirondacks, who persecute the young lovers. Menanna turns to the Spirits of the Flood for help and they respond: they overwhelm the Adirondacks and overthrow their canoes, killing most of the tribe – expect for Piskaret, who is saved by Menanna. In the Wabanaki mythology, we find the Lumpeguins, who are water sprites or mermaids, and the Mi’kmaq describe their water spirits, the Sabawaelnu or Halfway People, as half human and half fish. They can manipulate storms and respect humans, giving them hints through songs, which allow them to predict weather changes.
Eddie Blitner Taiita "Mermaid Spirit" Aboriginal Art

Whether it is about teaching us the consequences of our actions, underlining our unbreakable bonds with nature and the seas, or providing a vessel for expressing existential beliefs, mermen and mermaids have obtained a unique spot in Native American lore.

Coastal Mermaid Myth Maxine Noel Art 



For the past four decades, Noelene Lever has provided a haven for children in need, giving them the most important thing in life - love.

The 78-year-old selfless widow from the NSW north coast has opened her home to more than 50 foster children since the late 1970s, while working two jobs and caring for five of her own kids.

Ms Lever, who normally avoids too much fuss, was named the Barnardos NSW Mother of the Year on Tuesday, honouring her lifelong commitment to caring for children.

"I like to sit in the background and make a cup of tea while everyone else talks," she said after winning the gong.

Noelene lost her husband in a car accident and moved to Sydney to find work to support her five children in the late 70s.

She remembers clearly the first foster child she helped just after losing her husband. She was living in Sydney when a 12-year-old local boy asked if he could live with her family.

"I didn't question the parents but their attitude was like 'Well, if you think you can handle him, then fine he can stay with you'," Ms Lever said on Tuesday.

"He was good with me and I just gave him love."

Ms Lever never opted to adopt any of the 50 children because at the time it would have meant severing all ties with the foster children's families.

"To me it was important for them to know their family," she said.

Ms Lever was also heavily involved with the Aboriginal community in Redfern and worked with the Aboriginal Legal Service before she retired to live in Forster some eight years ago.