Artifacts Owned by Explorer James Cook Returned to Hawaii

In 1779, Hawaiian chief Kalani'ōpu'u presented famed explorer Captain James Cook with a priceless feathered cloak and helmet. For more than a century, the artifacts have sat in New Zealand’s national collections. Now, reports that the elaborate garb has been returned to its native land after 237 years, and is now on display at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu.

The mahiole (feathered helmet) and 'ahu 'ula (feathered cloak) were intended to welcome Cook, the first known European explorer to make contact with the far-flung Pacific archipelago. According to Honolulu magazine, written accounts state that Kalani‘ōpu‘u met with Cook, and at the end of their exchange “got up & threw in a graceful manner over the Captns [sic] Shoulders the Cloak he himself wore, & put a feathered Cap upon his head, & a very handsomefly flap in his hand.”

Relations eventually soured between Cook and the Hawaiian people, and in 1779 a crowd of villagers killed the captain. The cloak and helmet survived the mayhem, and returned to England with Cook’s ship and crew. They were passed from person to person until they finally landed in the hands of their long-term owner, Lord St. Oswald. When Oswald died in 1912, he surprised the public by willing his entire collection to Dominion Museum of New Zealand, the predecessor of Te Papa Tongarewa, the national museum and art gallery of New Zealand.

Over the years, the feathered cloak (without the helmet) made two brief return trips to Hawaii—once on Mayday in 1960, and again in 1978 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Cook’s arrival in the islands. In 2013, officials from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Te Papa, and the Bishop Museum began talks of a 10-year loan to the Bishop Museum.

The collaboration was recently finalized, and last week the cloak and helmet were handed over to a Hawaiian delegation in an emotional ceremony. Held at Te Papa, the event featured Hawaiian and New Zealand Maori Indigenous rituals and celebrated the fact that the cloak and helmet will be reunited in Hawaii for the first time in centuries.

Last Sunday, the Bishop Museum held a public celebration to commemorate the artifacts’ return. Visitors can now see them on display in the exhibit “He Nae Ākea: Bound Together,” which reflects on Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s connections to his land, culture, and people, MauiNow reports.

“These priceless treasures have so much to tell us about our shared Pacific history. We are honored to be able to return them home, to reconnect them with their land and their people,” Arapata Hakiwai, Māori co-leader of Te Papa, said in a statement. “Woven into these taonga (treasures) is the story of our Pacific history, with all its beauty, challenges and complexity.

Learn more about the cultural significance of Kalaniʻōpuʻu’s cloak and helmet in the video above, courtesy of New Zealand TV program Te Karere TVNZ

Header photo: Wikimedia Commons//Public Domain


The Most Popular Infomercial Product in Each State

You don't have to pay $19.95 plus shipping and handling to discover the most popular infomercial product in each state: AT&T retailer All Home Connections is giving that information away for free via a handy map.

The map was compiled by cross-referencing the top-grossing infomercial products of all time with Google Trends search interest from the past calendar year. So, which crazy products do people order most from their TVs?

Folks in Arizona know that it's too hot there to wear layers; that's why they invest in the Cami Secret—a clip-on, mock top that gives them the look of a camisole without all the added fabric. No-nonsense New Yorkers are protecting themselves from identity theft with the RFID-blocking Aluma wallet. Delaware's priorities are all sorted out, because tons of its residents are still riding the Snuggie wave. Meanwhile, Vermont has figured out that Pajama Jeans are the way to go—because who needs real pants?

Unsurprisingly, the most popular product in many states has to do with fitness and weight loss, because when you're watching TV late enough to start seeing infomercials, you're probably also thinking to yourself: "I need to get my life together. I should get in shape." Seven states—Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, Nebraska, Utah, and Wisconsin—have invested in the P90X home fitness system, while West Virginia and Arkansas prefer the gentler workout provided by the Shake Weight. The ThighMaster is still a thing in Illinois and Washington, while Total Gym and Bowflex were favored by South Dakota and Wyoming, respectively. 

Kitchen items are clearly another category ripe for impulse-buying: Alabama and North Dakota are all over the George Forman Grill; Alaska and Rhode Island are mixing things up with the Magic Bullet; and Floridians must be using their Slice-o-matics to chop up limes for their poolside margaritas.

Cleaning products like OxiClean (D.C. and Hawaii), Sani Sticks (North Carolina), and the infamous ShamWow (which claims the loyalty of Mainers) are also popular, but it's Proactiv that turned out to be the big winner. The beloved skin care system claimed the top spot in eight states—California, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, and Texas—making it the most popular item on the map.

Peep the full map above, or check out the full study from All Home Connections here.

A Florida Brewery Created Edible Six-Pack Rings to Protect Marine Animals

For tiny scraps of plastic, six-pack rings can pose a huge threat to marine life. Small enough and ubiquitous enough that they’re easy to discard and forget about, the little plastic webs all too often make their way to the ocean, where animals can ingest or become trapped in them. In order to combat that problem, Florida-based Saltwater Brewery has created what they say is the world’s first fully biodegradable, compostable, edible six-pack rings.

The edible rings are made of barley and wheat and are, if not necessarily tasty, at least safe for animals and humans to ingest. Saltwater Brewery started packaging their beers with the edible six-pack rings in 2016. They charge slightly more for their brews to offset the cost of the rings' production. They hope that customers will be willing to pay a bit more for the environmentally friendly beers and are encouraging other companies to adopt the edible six-pack rings in order to lower manufacturing prices and save more animals.

As Saltwater Brewery president Chris Gove says in the video above: “We want to influence the big guys and kind of inspire them to also get on board.”


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