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Elton John Given Rare Maori Award

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Elton John has received a specially made bird-feather cloak for his many visits to Maori communities.

"It's the Maori equivalent to an Academy Award" and means the 60-year-old British singer is an honored member of the Ngati Te Whiti sub-tribe, group chairman Peter Love said Friday in a statement.

The cloak was "gifted as recognition of the enjoyment Sir Elton John's music has given to Maori over the years and his loyal continuance to return to Aotearoa to entertain," he said. Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand.

John was given the Korowai cloak at a concert Thursday night. He played before 15,000 people in the regional city of New Plymouth, the traditional home of the Ngati Te Whiti, Love said.

The cloak's presentation "is significant as it's rarely given," Love said.