Wakahuia (treasure box); Unknown; 1800; WE001835

Name/Title

Wakahuia (treasure box)

About this object

This waka huia (treasure box) is fully carved. The main design elements on the lid consist of anthropomorphic figures combined with zoomorphic manaia (carved beaked figures). These are further enhanced with pākati (dog tooth pattern) notches and rauru spirals. (Rauru are rauponga - an alternating pattern of pākati notches and haehae (parallel grooves) - when used as a spiral. The design is possibly named after Rauru, who is sometimes credited with being the first carver.) The ends of the box base taper off into large manaia heads. The side patterning is configured around three frontal masks with protruding tongues. Again, these are decorated with rauru spirals and pākati notching.

Stone tooling

The shallow relief and indistinct or roughly formed edges of the main figures including surface decoration strongly suggest that this waka huia was made using stone tools.

Papa hou and waka huia

The rectangular form of papa hou is a northern variation of the more widespread waka huia, which are canoe shaped. The other main difference between the two forms is that papa hou are not carved on the bottom, whereas waka huia are.

Usage

Waka huia were used to contain the treasured personal adornments of both men and women - items such as hei tiki (pendants) and hüia (extinct New Zealand bird: Heteralocha acutirostris) feathers for decorating and dressing the hair. They were hung from the interior rafters of houses.

Acquisition

This waka huia was repatriated to New Zealand from Britain in 1958 as part of the K A Webster bequest to the people of New Zealand.

See more at Te Papa's Collections Online: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/objectdetails.aspx?oid=324044

Maker

Unknown

Maker Role

carver

Date Made

1800

Place Made

New Zealand

Medium and Materials

wood

Measurements

75 x 480 x 95mm

Object Type

container

Object number

WE001835

Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

This object is from
Tags
carving
huia feather
treasure
voivoi
wakahuia
wood

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