Posts written by Dougal Austin; Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu; Curator, Tāonga Tūturu 19-20th Century

Looking at Hei Tiki – Wear Patterns

Hei tiki (pendant in human form), New Zealand, maker unknown. Purchased 1979. Te Papa (ME014129)

I have found that studying patterns of wear on hei tiki can be quite revealing. Most hei tiki are made from nephrite pounamu, one of the toughest and most durable natural materials in existence. This being so I think we can safely assume that surface wear on hei tiki didn’t happen overnight. This wear indicates prolonged… Read more »

Kura Pounamu: He aha ō rātou whakāro?

1) Hei matau (hook shaped pendant), 1700-1850, New Zealand. Maker unknown. Purchased 1936. Te Papa. 2) Mere pounamu (nephrite weapon); 1800-1900, New Zealand. Maker unknown. Gift of the Right Honourable the Lady Rowley, 1980. Te Papa. 3) Chinese dragon boat, West Lake, Hangzhou. Copyright D Austin.

What do they think of it? Kura Pounamu exhibition tours China Kura Pounamu, the largest exhibition of taonga pounamu or ‘Māori jade treasures’ ever shown at Te Papa, was displayed from September 2009 to July 2011. As curator for the exhibition a favourite past time of mine was to sit to one side and quietly… Read more »