Toki, Karā, Basalt adze; Unknown Kaimahi toki (Adze maker); 1250-1900; RI.W2004....


Toki, Karā, Basalt adze

About this object

A toki (adze) made from brown basalt. The toki has been hammer-dressed and partly ground. It also has a chipped cutting edge and a prominent shoulder and hollow ground bevel. The tang is also more cylindrical in shape.

Stone tool specialist, the late Russell Beck noted that this toki is typical of the Cook Islands and characterised it as being Type 3A.

Karā is the most common volcanic rock on Earth, over 90% of all volcanic rock is basalt. It is formed from the rapid cooling of low-viscosity lava rich in magnesium and iron and characterised by its fine-grain. The probable source of stone for this toki is the Cook Islands.

This is one of over 350 toki (Māori adzes) in our collection. They range in size, stone type, and source; covering all stages of manufacture from rough pre forms to ground finished tools. Toki were bound to kakau roa (wooden handles) and used for woodworking such as waka building, tree felling, hollowing out items, and squaring off planks. Whao (chisels) were used for finer work. These two links share more background and show how toki were made.

'A new edge to the environment', Te Papa, 2006

'Te Ara, Kōhatu, Māori use of stone, Making an adze'


Unknown Kaimahi toki (Adze maker)

Maker Role

Kaimahi toki (Adze maker)

Date Made


Place Made

Oceania, South Pacific, Cook Islands

Place Notes

Stone tool specialist, the late Russell Beck has noted that this toki is typical of the Cook Islands and noted that he suspects that this is also the probable source of stone.

Medium and Materials

inorganic, stone, karā, basalt

Inscription and Marks

Written on underside of tang: 'W2832'


l 144 mm x w 57 mm x d 46 mm
535 g

Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Description

The information in this record is based on the assessment of stone tool specialist, the late Russell Beck. Between October and December of 2012 Russell conducted a thorough assessment of the 520 stone and pounamu items in Te Hikoi’s Taoka/Taonga Māori collection and produced a detailed report for each. The report for this toki was used to inform the stone type and probable source, the Duff type, condition, method and stage of manufacture stated in this record.

Object Type

taoka/taonga, toki

Object number



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