The New Zealand Native rugby tour of 1888/89 was a successful on the field but it was not as financially lucrative as tour organizer, Joseph Warbrick, had hoped and to make some additional funds for the tour a Maori cloak was sold to the National Museum of Victoria on this day in rugby history in 1889.
The cloak was made from flax and kiwi feathers and possibly would have been worn during the haka which was first used prior to matches on this tour.
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The Natives won 78 of their 107 games during the tour which visited Australia, New Zealand and the British Isles. The need to sell the cloak arose due to the higher than expect cost of the tour which included travel, food, and lodging for the 26 players.
"They took the game back to the masters and flogged them at it," the scholar studying the cloak said of the time. "The rugby field was one of those places where we could have a fair go. It was a great equaliser in a sense, even though it was a colonial game."