Key framing Willie to establish the deformation so I can paint weights. After key framing the head I realized that the cord around the hood was not attached. This could have been because history was not deleted. This was another problem in the end I had to convert the nurbs model into a poly to combine the surfaces. The result was fine. and smoothed so that the character looked more like the original nurbs model. This rectified the problem of the cord seperating from the hood when animating. Once this was achieved I could finally start painting weights.
I had to show joints-shading-xray go into the outliner choose the skin skeleton and smooth bind. Painting joints to the mesh that surrounds it. I had a problem with some of the mesh so I had to go into the component editor to modify influences that joints have on the affected mesh. Then go back into the paint weights box and paint and blend.