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Attributed to Rongomaiwahine iwi (tribe), Taurapa (sternpost)
1500-1800 from Mahia, Hawke's Bay, wood. Gift of Mr Ormond

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Spiralling back

The taurapa (canoe sternpost) provides spiritual protection and inspiration for warriors who travel in the waka (canoe). It links them, through their ancestral lines, to the Māori creation story.

Here, these links are expressed through the pïtau (openwork spirals). The lizard-like manaia bites down on the ira atua (the gods) and the ira tangata (humanity), wrestling with them as symbols of good and evil. The rib-form carvings represent the god Tāne's epic ascent into the heavens to obtain the three baskets of knowledge and the secrets of life they contain.

Two long trailing streamers often adorn taurapa, acknowledging Tāwhirimātea (god of the winds) and Tangaroa (god of the sea), the vessel's guardians.

Click on the images below to find out more


Ship Cove, Queen charlotte Sound

John Webber, Ship Cove, Queen Charlotte Sound


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