Look Inside: Crafting Aotearoa by Karl Chitham, Kolokesa U Māhina-Tuai and Damian Skinner

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Crafting Aotearoa: A cultural history of making in New Zealand and the wider Moana Oceania is a version of a new history, one where Māori, Pākehā and wider Moana Oceania knowledge and practices are placed alongside each other, and the connections, similarities, nuances and differences between them are given due weight. Historically these various trajectories of making have been discussed separately; this book draws them together into a dynamic conversation with each other. This book brings the many interactions and intersections between Māori, Pākehā and wider Moana Oceania makers into view. Making has been crucial in building the multicultural nation of Aotearoa. Craft is at the heart of this story.


Crafting Aotearoa

The words Moana Oceania suggest a sea of Pacific islands connected to each other, rather than being isolated islands in a far sea. This term for the Pacific embodies a world view strongly connected to Aotearoa but with roots in the wider region.

35.5mm spine

Karl Chitham Kolokesa U Māhina-Tuai Damian Skinner

Karl Chitham Kolokesa U Māhina-Tuai Damian Skinner




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Written and edited by Karl Chitham Kolokesa U Māhina-Tuai Damian Skinner Research by Rigel Sorzano


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Contents 8



2 Craft on board 57


1 Craft and island nations 23

The Ancestors of the Arts Tēvita `Ō Ka`ili 30 No Tangaroa ke tena Marae: Connecting with Oceania Julie Paama-Pengelly 39 The Exchange of Kula Feathers Tarisi Vunidilo 43 Pulotu, Hawaiki and Lapita Hūfanga `Ōkusitino Māhina

Cook Samplers Vivien Caughley 61 Blacksmithing on Guam Michael Bevacqua 64 The Ancestry of Te Aute Nikau Gabrielle Hindin 67 An Iconic Collectible Donald Kerr 78

3 Craft and belief 85





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Craft and ‘Civilisation’ at the LMS Museum Chris Wingfield Identifying Early Colonial-made Furniture William Cottrell The Art of Tuvalu Crochet: Kolose Marama T-Pole A Victorian Gothic Masterpiece Ann Calhoun ‘God in their luggage’ Julie Adams

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4 Craft and the authentic Needlework in the New Zealand Education System Stella Lange 127 St Barnabas’ Chapel, Norfolk Island Ann Calhoun 141 Polynesian Corpuscles: Tracing Cultural Stratification Through Craft Ioana Gordon-Smith 144 From Furniture Restoration to Faking Taonga Elizabeth Cotton 148 Makea: Queen of Rarotonga, Preserver of Women’s Weaving Traditions Joanna Cobley 151 The Havelock Work: Craft and the Occult Georgina White 158 Liberty and Co. in New Zealand Walter Cook 161 Mary Eleanor Joachim, Bookbinder Margery Blackman 166 The Women’s Section Moira White 120

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5 Craft and tourism 177

180 190 198 200


211 215 217

Souvenirs of the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ Richard Wolfe Crafting Kapa Haka Tryphena Cracknell A Novelty Barometer Marguerite Hill The Coral Route Lynette Townsend The Coconut Shell As Art Object John Perry Māori Culture and the Contemporary Scene Taarati Taiaroa Fashioning Souvenirs Elizabeth Wratislav The Geyser Room Experience Michael Smythe The World Came Knocking Kevin Murray

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6 Craft and the modern 225 229




256 262


272 278

Making Do in Hard Times Rosemary McLeod ‘Something to See’: Women’s Institutes Claire Regnault Guilds and Societies in Craft Practice Helen Schamroth Theo Schoon: Bauhaus to Our House Andrew Paul Wood Joseph Churchward’s Handcrafted Typefaces Safua Akeli Amaama Studio Craft and the Everyday Moyra Elliott A New Vision for New Zealand Craft Lucy Hammonds Indigenous Pacific Museums and Cultural Centres Tarisi Vunidilo Craft and the Hippie Myth Vic Evans Peter Stichbury and Abuja Justine Olsen

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7 Craft and belonging 293

The Craft of Punk Simon Swale 295 The Permanent Crucible Benjamin Lignel 299 Craft and Conceptual Art Warren Feeney 301 Bone Stone Shell across the Ditch Julie Ewington 316 What Planet Do You Come From? Rosanna Raymond 322 New Zealand Wearable Art and the Craft Conundrum Natalie Smith 325 Words Were Loaded Siliga David Setoga 330 Tatau as Craft Sean Mallon 331 Crafting a Continuum Ane Tonga 335 Mau Mahara Philip Clarke 337 The 1983 Tokomaru Bay Weaving Hui Christina Hurihia Wirihana 344 Pacific Men’s Craft in New Zealand Sean Mallon

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8 Craft in the contemporary 351


358 363






Street Craft in a Cracked City Reuben Woods From Craft Practitioners to Designer-makers Michael Smythe Crafting Make Believe Claire Regnault Contemporary Quilting Communities Jane Groufsky Slow Fashion and Craft Activism Natalie Smith More Than Just a Cup of Tea Johnny Hui The Social and Sustainably Crafted Object Andrea Bell Masi: Wedding Ceremonial Dress Practices in Fiji Joana Monolagi Performing Measina: Craft in Contemporary Pacific Performance Lana Lopesi

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389 394 400



Kōwhaiwhai Ceramics Tharron Bloomfield Our Mothers Were Not Marked Julia Mage`au Gray He Rauemi Tūturu: Muka in Contemporary New Zealand Jewellery Practice Tryphena Cracknell Meliors Simms: Agent of Change Bronwyn Lloyd Casting Shadow, Chasing Light Lydia Baxendell


Notes Further reading More about craft About the editors Contributors Acknowledgements Objects Image credits Index

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Introduction In twenty-first-century Aotearoa New Zealand, the handmade object and the skills required in making are celebrated by many different groups and for many different reasons. To show what this means, here are seven stories about craft. In August 2016, Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta became the first woman to wear a kauae tehe in Parliament. This historically important occasion represented a renewed confidence by Māori to show their identity and mana through a reclaimed cultural practice, and it was a political game changer in the way tā moko might indicate Māori issues of grievance. Mahuta was one of fourteen women from Waikato–Maniapoto who received their kauae tehe as part of an intergenerational mokopapa wānanga, a gathering to receive tā moko, at Waahi Pā marae. Historically, tā moko is done using an uhi to chisel or incise designs directly into the skin. Tā moko represents the wearer’s whakapapa and mana within their hapū and iwi. For Māori women, the kauae tehe was a rite of passage marking the transition into adulthood. Throughout the colonial period tā moko became both illegal and unfashionable, and by the 1970s the practice had disappeared almost completely; only a few elderly men and women wore this symbol of prestige. In the 1980s and 90s tattoo in Aotearoa had a resurgence; the associations of tā moko with gangs and disaffected youth began to dissipate and there was renewed interest in the way tā moko could represent an individual’s connections to their tūpuna, as well as asserting Māori sovereignty and ownership of cultural traditions.

Alongside the reclaiming of Māori language and tikanga, Māori women revived kauae tehe, referred to at the time as moko kauae.1 With the revival of kauae tehe, Māori women started practising tā moko, which many thought was reserved only for men. Chris Harvey, based in Christchurch, for example, learned her craft in the 1990s under the mentorship of tohunga whakairo and tohunga tā moko Riki Manuel; others include Julie Paama-Pengelly, based in Tauranga, who has worked as a curator, kaitāmoko and writer.2 She has advocated for the role of women in tā moko and particularly in using this shift in gender roles to revitalise toi Māori such as kauae tehe as both respectful of the past and reflective of contemporary lifestyles. Her tā moko, performed for over 20 years, incorporates elements of kōwhaiwhai combined with a balanced approach to positive and negative space, giving her designs a contemporary sensibility while still referencing the mokopapa of her tā moko. This interest in the whakapapa and development of tā moko can be charted in recent shifts in the tools utilised by tohunga tā moko. The artform has seen a progression through the adaption of the tools, from the uhi of the nineteenth century and earlier to the makeshift tools of the twentieth century, to the modern tattoo gun and now back to the uhi. Paama-Pengelly prefers to use the tattoo gun to apply tā moko because of its ability to give fine, distinct lines, but she is aware that some tohunga tā moko are reclaiming the uhi and are exploring a more customary

Kauae tehe Māori term for a facial tattoo worn only by women; this is commonly applied to the kauae or chin. Mana Māori term that denotes ancestral prestige, authority, empowerment and influence and is often linked to the term ‘tapu’, which relates to sacredness. Mana is an intangible force that imbues the spiritual power and status of an

Uhi Māori tool, sometimes described as a chisel, used to apply an incised moko. Whakapapa Māori term for genealogy, a system of understanding relationships between people, and between people and the natural world; whakapapa is the web of connections between people and the world around them, stretching right back to the beginnings of the universe.

individual attained through whakapapa and can be enhanced through actions that lead to success. Inanimate objects and places can also have mana. Tā moko Māori term for facial and body tattoo; ‘tā’ refers to the tapping action used in the historical method of tattoo, and ‘moko’ are the patterns applied to the body.

Hapū Māori sub-tribe, clan; hapū have frequently been the commissioning group for meeting houses and other major artistic projects. Hapū also means to be pregnant. Iwi Māori tribe, people, descent group; often refers to a large group of Māori who can trace their descent from a common ancestor or migration canoe.


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001 Julie

Paama-Pengelly working on a tā moko client at the Ngā Uri o Muturangi: Indigenous Space event in Tauranga, 2019.


approach to tā moko application. She is clear that the integrity of her work is related to her understanding of how her designs relate to this history, not through the tools she chooses to employ.3 A history of the handmade object in Aotearoa needs to start with Māori, but has to account for the many other island groups who also call Aotearoa home. Approximately Tūpuna Māori term for ancestors or grandparents. Tikanga Māori cultural practices and ways of behaving; the rules that govern society. Tohunga whakairo Māori term for expert carver; ‘tohunga’ is a cultural expert, and ‘whakairo’ is to ornament or decorate. In contemporary usage, the tohunga whakairo is the head


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carver responsible for supervising all the experts working on a meeting house or large carving project. Tohunga tā moko Māori term for expert tattooist. Kaitāmoko Māori term used to describe those who practice tā moko; the prefix ‘kai’ relates to the action of a person and ‘tā moko’ refers to facial and body tattoo. Kaitāmoko is a

seventeen Moana Oceania ethnic groups were identified in New Zealand in the 2013 census, and for fifteen of these groups, including Sāmoa, Cook Islands, Tonga, Niue, Fiji, Tuvalu and Kiribati, their largest populations live in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. Samoan is the second most spoken language in Tāmaki Makaurau, and there are more Cook Islanders, Niueans and Tokelauans living in Aotearoa than in their homelands.4 general term for a tattooist or tattooists but does not infer status or expertise. Toi Māori Māori term for the different practices of making in Māori society. In contemporary usage ‘toi’ has come to represent all practices that are related to the visual arts.

Kōwhaiwhai Māori term for painted patterns applied to the rafters and ridgepole in the meeting house; most kōwhaiwhai are based on the koru and the pītau (a curving stalk with a bulb on the end) and the kape (a crescent with a line of evenly placed circles).


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This chapter opens with Pati Solomona Tyrell’s moving-image artwork Fāgogo, a cyclical journey whose opening scene is the burning of ‘effigies’ in Tonga.1 Three figures emerge from the darkness, slowly moving forward to perform a tau`olunga, emphasised by the slow and graceful movements of the body, enhanced by the individually handmade components of their teunga tau`olunga.

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008 Pati

Solomona Tyrell’s costumes and adornments used in Fāgogo were made using traditional and modern materials. On the head of each dancer (from left: Akashi Zari-Lee Fisi`inaua, Manuha`ahapi Zari-Lee Vaeatangitau, Sione Monū) is a helu tu`u, a decorative comb handcrafted with wooden skewers for the base and coconut midribs for the finer details. Each helu tu`u has red plastic pearls in a variety of designs unique to each performer. Sione Tuivailala Monū

Fāgogo starts with afi, fire in Tongan, as the process of death, the mourning but also the celebration of new beginnings. The film then moves into te kore, Māori for the void. The screen is momentarily black; the subtle rustling of the afi segues into the sound of breathing, then of the haunting and beautiful pūtōrino, a wooden instrument that has attributes of a trumpet and a flute, selected by Tyrell because it has te kōkiri o tāne, a male voice and te wai o te hine, a female voice.2 As we sit in te kore, eyes appear that reveal themselves to be the obsidian teeth of Hinenuitepō, the Māori goddess of death and receiver of our souls when we die. A figure of dust emerges, doubled and mirrored to articulate the wairua, spirit, manifesting the breath of new life — hence the title of this section of the work: ‘Tā’, to breathe. The figure begins to shake, reflecting the combustion of energy and matter creating the universe, and then comes to a halt. The film then moves to `ele`ele — dirt, soil or land in Samoan — where the combustion of energy and matter initiates the formation of earth. After a moment of black, whispers in the Samoan language can be heard, giving salutations to the nine heavens of Tagaloa3 — a chant used at the funeral of a matai or chief. The scene is rich with oratory and the handmade adornments and garments worn by tulāfale. The seed is planted in `ele`ele and this moves beautifully into kelekele, which means dirt, soil or land in Niuean. ‘Kelekele’ is a dance piece that is the manifestation of the growth of the seed or figure. The choreography is a celebration of the self, the feminine, the divine and growth. The dancer’s costume is made of lautī skilfully constructed to make ornaments for the waist, forearms, calves and head. Kelekele becomes a continuation of the creation and fertilisation of the earth. Next comes wai, water in some of the Cook Island dialects, in a performance that expresses ideas of the Tau`olunga Tongan dance said to have been originated in the Samoan tau`aluga that is usually performed by one or a group of female dancers. Teunga tau`olunga Tongan term for a dance costume usually comprised of many and different components for male and female dancers. Matai Samoan for the titled head or chief of a Samoan extended family with the responsibility and leadership of the village and extended community.

Craft and island nations

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Tulāfale Samoan orator; a talking chief. They are custodians of family, village and district oral histories and directors of its functions and protocols and are the Spokesperson of a family, village or district. Lautī Niuean name for fresh green leaves of the tī tree. `Ei katu Cook Islands name for a head garland or ‘crown’ that is made to suit the occasion or celebration. Considered the finishing touch to one’s outfit, it can be made from colourful, plain, natural or synthetic flowers or shells.

moana or ocean as a connector of all our islands, the fluidity in our movement and bodies, the fluidity of our genders and sexualities.4 The performer wears a flowing, elegant costume in the luminescent colours of pāua shell, and an `ei katu with blue flowers that cascade down the sides of the dancer’s face, further evoking the moana. A voiceover recites a quote by the former head of state of Sāmoa, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi: I am not an individual; I am an integral part of the cosmos. I share divinity with my ancestors, the land, the seas and the skies. I am not an individual, because I share a ‘tofi’ (an inheritance) with my family, my village and my nation. I belong to my family and my family belongs to me. I belong to my village and my village belongs to me. I belong to my nation and my nation belongs to me. This is the essence of my sense of belonging.5  The film concludes in Fiji with wai, which also means water in Fijian. Here the viewer has a brief but powerful encounter with a female figure, a kalou or god/goddess. She stands tall and upright, looking directly at the viewer, and as the camera moves towards her, her arms move from her side and are clasped in front of her chest. The figure embodies Indigenous Fijian architecture in the form of a bure kalou. This short section of the film focuses on returning to Burotu, to Indigenous spiritual practices and the restoring of matriarchal and feminine energies. It is said that Burotu or Pulotu6 is an ancestral homeland and afterworld of peoples from some of the islands of Moana Oceania, located somewhere in the Lau islands of Fiji.7 Fāgogo is a work made in Aotearoa but it is based on the Samoan cultural practice of fāgogo. Described as ‘ferreting out meaning and substance’, fāgogo is a way of telling Kalou Fijian gods/goddesses. Some of these gods and goddesses are: part of ancient Fijian myths and legends; referred to when discussing places names and totems; and part of Fijian migration stories. Well known Fijian gods are Degei (Serpent God), Dakuwaqa (Shark God) and Daucina (God of Light). Bure Kalou Fijian name for spirit house. Burotu Fijian name for ancestral homeland.

Pulotu Tongan for ancestral homeland and afterworld of Moananui, that is, where one comes from and where one’s soul returns when they die. It is the ancient hub where refined knowledge and skills are stored in the form of performance, material and fine arts. Fāgogo Samoan for oral discourse; a tale intermingled with song and chanting. Fāgogo is a way of telling stories so that a specific message is conveyed to the audience by the ways in which the elements of the story are assembled and presented.


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009 The

Fijian bure kalou served as the houses of bete (hereditary priests) who are conduits or the mouthpieces of kalou (gods). Located atop a mound, bure kalou were the most imposing dwellings in a village. The higher they stood, the closer they brought the bete and their prayers to the gods. Luisa Keteiyau Tora

010 The

rattling sound of the tu`i ipu is used by Samoan fishermen when hunting naiufi or sharks, as part of the rituals that mark the hunter’s respect for the sacredness of their prey.



stories so that a specific message is conveyed to the audience by the ways in which the elements of the story are assembled and presented.8 As the primary storyteller behind Fāgogo, Tyrell demonstrates the potential of fāgogo as a living practice that draws on knowledges and practices handed down from the past. Although fāgogo is a specifically Samoan way of transmitting knowledge, different elements in Tyrell’s work pay homage to the Indigenous knowledge systems and histories of Tonga, Aotearoa, Cook Islands, Niue and Fiji. Fāgogo demonstrates the holistic and collective aspects of Indigenous Moana Oceania cultures and practices: the film is circular and looped; it is achieved as a collaboration with all the performers and makers involved; and the research, writing, choreography, styling and making emerge from these interactions.9 The collaborative approach and the production of each part of this artwork goes beyond what is handmade, such as the adornments and garments; rather it extends to what is better described as human-made elements such as the composition of poetry that is spoken or sung, and the choreography that moves the performers’ bodies.

Fāgogo plays a key role in the Indigenous knowledge and practice of tala tu`umumusu, the ‘culture of whispers’ Samoan custodians engage in when passing on sacred knowledge. One such fāgogo places emphasis on the important relationship between humans and animals with the story remembered in the tala tu`umumusu about Pupu Luki, the head fisherman who went fishing for naiufi, the shark: One of the custodian’s whispers is that when Pupu went fishing for naiufi (shark) the village would get excited at the prospect of a good catch. Prayer vigils would be held by his family during the night to ask the gods for protection over Pupu and his companion. Fishing was not perceived as an exercise in luring, trapping and killing mercilessly, but of inviting the fish to honour the village chief’s mana by being an equal adversary and then ultimately by gifting himself to the chief to help bolster or sustain the chief’s status. This is evidenced in the honorific term for sacred fish, which is tamasoalii (tama soa meaning aide to; ali`i meaning chiefs): God Tagaloa’s gift was for these Tala tu`umumusu Samoan word meaning to whisper sacred

knowledge softly into the ears of those specially chosen.


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The Ancestors of the Arts Tēvita `Ō Ka`ili

Art is a central thread of culture —  and some cultures worship the creators of the arts. In Moana-nui (Polynesia), originators of an artform are often elevated into deities. Ancestors were deified due to their great achievements in the arts, and are still revered today within the pantheon of Moana-nui societies. In Tonga, `otua are deified ancestors (similar to the ancestors or gods known in Māori tradition as atua). `Otua are linked to the three principal genres of Tongan arts: tufunga, material arts; faiva, performing arts; and nimamea`a, fine arts.[i] The tufunga is the Tongan equivalent of the Māori tohunga (expert, priest, or healer). In Tongan tradition, these art forms are associated with the deified ancestors Hikule`o, Tangaloa, Maui and Hina. The goddess Hikule`o is known primarily in Tonga and Sāmoa. She is the chiefess of the legendary island of Pulotu — Hawaiki and Pulotu are the two primary ancestral homelands of Moana-nui, and Pulotu was the ancient hub for the art of poetry, music and performance. Pulotu is also the name for a composer of art. Specifically, the term is used for the art of pulotu fa`u (composing of poetic lyrics), pulotu hiva/fasi (composing of music) and pulotu haka (choreography). In Tonga, when an artist attains all three areas of composition, they emerge as a punake, a master poet-composer-choreographer.[ii] In Tongan cosmogony, Tangaloa `Eiki is the younger sibling of Hikule`o and the elder brother of Maui and Hina. He is recognised throughout Moana-nui as Tangaroa, Tagaloa, Ta`aroa, and Kanaloa. In Tonga and Sāmoa, he is the god of creation, whereas in Hawai`i and Tahiti, he is the god of the sea. Tangaloa `Eitumātupu`a is the divine father of `Aho`eitu, the first Tu`i Tonga (king of Tonga). All the royal and chiefly families of Tonga trace their genealogical lines and mana to Tangaloa. Tangaloa `Eitumātupu`a was also the first person to engage in faiva heu lupe, the performance art of pigeonsnaring. His divine sons were among the first athletes to participate in faiva sika`ulutoa, the performance art of javelin-throwing. It is likely that the arts of pigeon-snaring and Craft and island nations

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javelin-throwing originated with the Tangaloa clan. Tangaloa Tufunga (Tangaloa the Master Artist) was the patron of the arts in Tonga, and carpenters were called the Children of Tangaloa Tufunga.[iii] He had an art workshop in Langi, the Sky World, where he created all his artwork. He also had a toki, an adze, which he used to create art. In the creation tale of the first Tongan island, Tangaloa Tufunga threw down from Langi shavings from his workshop to create the first island of `Ata. Like Pulotu, Langi was a realm of the gods and certain arts. Perhaps the most famous of all the deities is Maui. In Tonga, Maui `Atalanga was the father of Maui Kisikisi or Maui Fusifonua, Maui the Fisher of Land. Maui Kisikisi is celebrated in Māori tradition as Māui-tikitiki-a-taranga. He was a master of faiva fusifonua, the performance art of fishing up land.

This artform was closely linked to faiva faifolau, the performance art of navigation, and faiva toutai, the performance art of fishing. Maui `Atalanga was famous for his mastery of faiva fa`a, the performance art of cultivating crops. He was a master cultivator of `ufi (yams), talo (taro) and kumala (sweet potatoes). Maui Motu`a, the senior Maui, was the master of faiva toloafi, the performance art of making fire, and faiva fei`umu, the performance art of cooking in an underground oven. His grandson, Maui Kisikisi, learned the art of firemaking from him. Maui Kisikisi, like the sons of Tangaloa `Eitumātupu`a, also engaged in the art of javelinthrowing. Hina, like Maui, is well known throughout Moana-nui. She is Hina, Sina, Hine or Ina. In Māori tradition, Hina appears as Hine. For example, Hinemoana is the Māori goddess of the ocean. In Tonga, Hina is 23

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This pōvai or club is known as Kali`o Hina (Headrest of Hina) or Paletu`a. It is used in faiva no`o`anga, the performance art of shark-catching.

012 This

carving is of the Tongan goddess Hikule`o, the ruler of Pulotu, the Tongan ancestral homeland and the centre for the art of composing (pulotu) poetry, music and performance.

013 The

Samoan pe`a or male tatau of Faimasulu Larni Fiti, marked by tufuga tā tatau Su`a Sulu`ape Paulo III.

Notes [i] `Okusitino Māhina, ‘Tā, Vā, and Moana: Temporality, spatiality, and indigeneity’, Pacific Studies, vol. 33, no. 2/3, 2010, pp. 168–202. [ii] `Okusitino Māhina, ‘Tatau, Potupotutatau, and Mālie: A realist reflection on the symmetry, harmony and beauty of Queen Salote’s poetry’, in Ian Campbell and Eve Coxon (eds), Polynesian Paradox: Essays in honour of Futa Helu, Institute of Pacific Studies, University of South Pacific, Suva, 2005, pp. 168–83. [iii] Edward W Gifford, Tongan Society, Bernice P Bishop Museum, Honolulu, 1929. Further reading Hau‘ofa, Epeli, Pasts to Remember: We are the ocean: Selected works, University of Hawai‘i Press, Honolulu, 2008, pp. 60–79. Helu, ‘I Futa, ‘South Pacific Mythology: Critical essays: Cultural perspectives from the South Seas’, The Journal of Pacific History, Canberra, Australia, 1999, pp. 251–60.


the sister of Maui Kisikisi. She is the goddess of the moon, tapa (barkcloth) and sharks. The moon is her abode and she beats her tapa on the moon as the master artist of nimamea`a koka`anga, the fine art of tapa-making. Women tapa-makers perform a sacred ritual to Hina during the process of tapa-making. Hina is also the master of faiva mata māhina, the performance art of moon observation, and the Moana-nui moon calendar originated from Hina. Last of all, Hina is the goddess of faiva no`o`anga, the performance

art of shark-catching. Today, shark-catchers still perform faiva laulau, the art of chanting, to Hina when they engage in a sharkcatching expedition. Even, the pōvai (club) that is used in faiva no`o`anga is known as Kali `o Hina (Headrest of Hina) or Paletu`a. Deities who are linked with the arts are immensely important because their mythical stories reveal the deep history of art. In addition, they remind us that art is sacred and spiritual, and that humans have a duty to care and support the arts.

Māhina, ‘Okusitino, ‘Oceanic Mythology’, in Janet Parker and Julie Stanton (eds), Mythology: Myths, legends, and fantasies, Global Book Publishing, Australia, 2003, pp. 374–81. Māhina, ‘Okusitino, ‘The Poetics of Tongan Traditional History: Tala-ē-Fonua: An ecology-centred concept of culture and history’, The Journal of Pacific History, vol. 23, no. 1, 1993, pp. 109–21. About the author Tēvita `Ō Ka`ili is Tongan and an Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Brigham Young University — Hawai`i.


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sacred fish to become aide to the chief. These sacred fish enjoy special status and are entitled to the rituals of respect befitting a person of paramount importance. When fishermen speak to the naiufi in chiefly language, their special status as tamasoalii is acknowledged. The naiufi are thus considered more than just food.10 The fāgogo, as remembered and told by the tala tu`umumusu, then explains the details of the fishing trip: the tools used, such as tu`i ipu or tu`i malie, a rattle made of coconut shells attached to an orange-tree stick that is shaken to let the naiufi or shark know where they are; the chant to address and acknowledge tamasoali`i. And when the naiufi is close enough a struggle takes place on the water that lasts a couple of hours until the naiufi is tired out and is pulled in and killed with a blow to its head using a club. There is celebration and gratitude afterwards, expressed through Mānaia Samoan head of the fa`ataulele`a, the son of a high chief, or the holder of the position of ‘head’. It also means attractive, beauty or smart. Craft and island nations

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`Ie tōga Samoan term for fine mat(s), the highest ranking and most finely made. They are used as cultural gifts for presentation

rituals and acknowledgement of the sacrifice made by the naiufi, as mānaia of the sea, and the successful catch made by Pupu, as mānaia of the land. This includes covering the naiufi with an `ie tōga when it is brought to shore —  an act of respect — and following certain rituals and protocols in its cooking and preparation to reflect the naiufi’s sacredness. Only men wearing a pe`a (traditional male tattoo) are entitled to prepare, cook and serve the naiufi. They must wear garlands of flowers around the neck, a skirt of tī leaves around the waist, and have tauseisei or a flower behind each ear. This dress code marked the pinnacle of gasese (male service culture) and manhood. By adhering strictly to these welcoming, cooking and serving rituals, the village gave due recognition to the courage and nobility of the naiufi.11 or items for ceremonial dress. The value of an `ie tōga is in the preparation and qualities of the materials used for its production;

it is also in the genealogy of the maker and the name of the `ie tōga.


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work as an ornamental carver and cabinetmaker, working from the premises of Elijah Bythell, a successful builder and wood merchant and, later, mayor of Blenheim. They first met on the goldfields in Ballarat, Victoria, where Ah Gee made furniture for the miu — buildings where offerings were made to the ancestors in Chinese settlements. He carved ecclesiastical objects, including a wooden-eagle lectern for the Church of the Nativity in 1890, along with a tōtara pulpit, sanctuary chair and kneeling stool; a font in Ōamaru stone for St Mary’s Church in Blenheim; and household furniture, fire surrounds, gravestones, picture frames and relief scenes. Ah Gee was respected and praised for his work, but even he didn’t escape the rising tide of ill feeling among the public about the presence of Chinese people in Aotearoa, institutionalised in the Chinese Immigrants Act of 1881, which established a poll tax on Chinese immigrants. The Act was modelled on legislation passed by the Australian state of Victoria in 1855, which arose out of an intercolonial conference in January 1881 in Sydney, at which members argued for a consistent approach in the colonies to Chinese immigrants, who were viewed as undesirable and unwelcome. The Chinese Immigrants Act imposed a £10 poll tax to be paid by every Chinese person entering Aotearoa. It also put in place a one-to-ten passenger-totonnage restriction, which meant that a 100-ton vessel could bring only ten Chinese passengers into the country.

The ratio was increased in 1888 from ten to 100 tons and, in 1896, to one passenger per 200 tons; and the poll tax was raised to £100.41 In 1906, a decade or so after Ah Gee had returned to Wellington, a newspaper article captured the hostility towards Chinese craftspeople when it reported: ‘The other day a story went round that John Chinaman had cut into the furniture trade in Wellington, and would monopolise it and turn it as yellow as the furniture trade in Sydney, or the fruit trade in our own city.’ To the relief of citizens, no doubt, the article concluded: ‘But so far as can be discovered, the only approach to a Chinese furniture-maker in this city is one ancient Celestial who does carving, and who is a specialist, and who cannot be said to interfere to any profound extent with the established trade of white workers.’42 The gumdiggers who worked the kauri gumfields in Northland in the late nineteenth century were mainly Dalmatians. Not all were specifically craftspeople, but they would often turn their hand to carving gum in their spare time. Typically a carver would produce hearts, crosses and anchors, although some made more complex forms. Carving required a great deal of patience and skill: a slip of the knife could ruin hours of work. Elaborate carvings of a head, for example, could take as long as six months to complete. Once it was completed, a carving was sanded and then polished


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133 This

very New Zealand scene by Wellington-based Chinese settler William Ah Gee was made around 1905. Carved from tōtara, the landscape features the iconic cone of Mount Taranaki, behind a waka and whare whakairo set amongst native bush.

134 This

model of a cathedral was constructed in kauri gum by A Addis. Piecing the model together took Addis ten years, and he finally completed the project in 1896. More than six hundred pieces of gum were fashioned to build the cathedral. Tracey Wedge


using a kerosene rag or the palm of the hand. Andrew Rintoul, a Scotsman who arrived in 1862 and farmed at Huarau in Northland, carved a set of seashells, perfectly spherical balls, a cross of his own design, and beads that he drilled with a homemade gimlet so they could be strung and worn. The most elaborate objects made from kauri gum included a model cathedral, 17.5 inches in height, constructed from over 600 individual pieces of gum that were heated after being carved so they would adhere to each other. It took the maker, Mr Addis, more than ten years to make in his leisure hours, and was completed in 1896. Another favourite craft activity using kauri gum was the production of ‘kauri silk’, which mimicked a tress of silky blond hair. A nice specimen of gum weighing about two pounds, pale and clear with no ruptures or defects, would be heated in an old metal frypan or on a metal plate on a hot range. As the surface melted, it would be drawn out to arm’s length or further, producing beautiful drawn fibres that were collected and placed on a nearby surface. The process would continue until three generous bundles of strands had been produced, which were then plaited while warm and tied with ribbon.43 Kauri Māori name for Agathis australis, New Zealand’s largest native tree, found only in the northern North Island. Kauri

There were plenty of handmaking skills required on the gumfields. Those who were based in one place for a reasonable period of time, or who had a wife or family, would build a sod cottage with a chimney braced with heavy stakes, and sod walls (dug with the gumdigger’s spade) about three or four feet high, with a high-pitched roof made of mānuka tea-tree poles and thatched with nīkau palm or raupō leaves or a tent fly, and a floor of beaten earth. Some dwellings had roofs made of grain sacks that were unpicked and opened up to their full size and then stitched together with string and a bag needle to make a tent-like cover that was stretched over the ceiling poles. All that was required was readily available tools and materials, such as a gum spade, an axe, a hammer, nails, a knife, some string and a bag needle, and harakeke cord for binding and lashing. The furniture was rough and rudimentary: bunks were a frame made of four mānuka stakes with sacking stretched over it, supported on four forked branches hammered into the ground, and the pillow was a flour bag stuffed with spare clothes. Seats and cupboards were fashioned from empty packing cases, and a table from old boards and mānuka tea-tree stakes.44

wood was used for carving and its gum was burnt to produce a dye used in tattooing.

Craft and the authentic

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137 This selection of objects was donated 138 to the Auckland War Memorial

Museum by James Burton Turner in 1921 and at the time represented one of the most comprehensive collections of Fijian material wealth. This page, clockwise from top: sedre ni kakana or priest’s dish; i vakadewa or kava strainer; ike or tapa beater; matau kaukamea or hafted metal adze. Opposite page, clockwise from top: i takitaki ni wai or coconut shell container; bilo ni yaqona or kava cup; tabua or ceremonial whale tooth; civavonovono or breast ornament.


suitable to Sir Arthur’s role as the premier chief of Fiji.’48 Collecting had political value, but it was also driven by scientific curiosity and a quasi-professional interest in the objects and cultural practices of Fijian people. As von Hügel wrote in 1875: A few scattered native weapons or implements might certainly be found in settlers’ houses, but they were kept as ‘curios’, often for the sake of some sensational history which the owner could attach to them. Every dish was a cannibal dish, every club had been the instrument of some atrocious murder, and every stain on either was caused by blood. There were some 50,000 Fijians in the islands at the time I landed and about 3000 whites, but the 50,000 might have been so many cabbages for anything their white fellow creatures cared to know of them, their customs or their history.49 It was an exceptional time for collecting in Fiji. The presence of the colonial government and a wave of conversion to Christianity shifted the ways in which Fijian chiefs were

interacting with the European officials. Important items were given, especially to the governor, as a way of cementing diplomatic relationships. And in turn these were increasingly being understood and displayed as ethnological specimens that illustrated a culture, rather than as sensational curios.50 In 1921 the annual report for the Auckland Institute and Museum acknowledged a generous gift of a ‘superb collection of Fijian and Polynesian ethnological specimens’ accumulated by James Burton Turner from Auckland, who had moved to Fiji in 1870 and worked there for many years. The museum noted that Turner’s collection ‘contains sets of nearly all the articles necessary to fully illustrate the manners and customs of the ancient Fijian’, and celebrated the gift as an extension to the existing collections that would ‘render the museum preeminent as the centre for the study of Polynesian culture’.51 Museums were closely tied to these developments in the emerging field of anthropology. In the late nineteenth century two different philosophies changed display strategies in Aotearoa museums. One philosophy was concerned with


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He began collaborating with ceramicist Len Castle, decorating Castle’s pots. Both shared a passion for Asian arts and local clays, and Castle learned about Bauhaus design and asymmetrical composition from Schoon, who also stoked Castle’s interest in geothermal imagery. Through Castle, Schoon met Barry Brickell and another circle of ceramic artists. Pounamu carving fascinated Schoon. His only book, Jade Country (1973), dealt with the subject. In 1968 he made forays into carving his own designs, initially deconstructed, in Bauhaus fashion, from traditional Māori motifs. This gained him employment with the Westland Greenstone Company in Hokitika in 1969, though his insistence on innovation over commercially approved patterns was a source of friction. His pounamu found favour with some Māori, notably Māta Hirini of the Maori Women’s Welfare League, and he exhibited pieces at New Vision gallery in Auckland. In Hokitika he mentored carver Kelvyn Anderson and became close friends with ceramicist Yvonne Rust, bonding over cats and local clays. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, after a stint in Bali with potter Brent Hesselyn, Schoon worked obsessively with hue (gourds), importing calabash seeds, growing the plants and carving the gourds at his house in Arch Hill, Auckland. This was partly inspired by his study with Māori master carver Pineamine Taiapa in 1961. Some gourds were exhibited at New Vision, but few survive. His efforts earned him an invitation (the only non-Māori given that honour) to participate in the Ngaruawahia Centennial at Tūrangawaewae in 1974. Later in life Schoon stayed with ceramicist Helen Mason. Debilitated by emphysema, he returned to stamping pots, this time in collaboration with Steve Rumsey, before moving to Sydney, Australia, where he died. Schoon’s legacy is a complex one, primarily of mentorship. He brought energy and sophistication through Asian and European aesthetics to New Zealand’s largely anglophile craft community. He encouraged craft artists to innovate in design and see themselves in the same terms as fine artists. He emphasised the importance of local materials, popularised awareness of Māori visual culture and encouraged Māori artists to experiment with modernism. His efforts helped lay the groundwork for innovative New Zealand craft for the rest of the century.

246 A

self-portrait by Theo Schoon featuring gourds he had grown and decorated, and taken by the artist at his Arch Hill home, Auckland, in 1960.

247 A

Theo Schoon stoneware dish decorated with an embossed pattern made with plaster stamps. Notes [i] This controversial programme of transformation was brought about shortly before Schoon’s arrival by Jacob ‘Jac’ Jongert (1883–1942), graphic designer at the Van Nelle tobacco factory and Leerdam Glasfabriek glassworks, and Piet Zwart (1885–1977), a designer and typographer of strongly Bauhaus leanings. The academy is now called the Willem de Kooning Academy after its most celebrated alumnus. [ii] Steve Rumsey and Theo Schoon, ‘Theo Schoon: My work with plaster stamps’, New Zealand Potter, vol. 27, no. 2, 1985, p. 20. [iii] Theo Schoon, letter to Francisca Mayer, 24 November 1967, MS 61, 2, p. 7, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Wellington. Further reading Dunn, Michael, ‘The Art of Theo Schoon’, Art New Zealand, no. 25, Spring 1982. Skinner, Damian, ‘Theo Schoon’s Interaction with Aspects of Māori Art’, MA thesis, University of Auckland, 1996. Wood, Andrew Paul, ‘Double Vision: Redressing Theo Schoon’s absence from New Zealand art history’, MA thesis, University of Canterbury, 2003. About the author Andrew Paul Wood is an art writer and independent cultural historian.


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New Zealand Wearable Art and the Craft Conundrum Natalie Smith

In 1987, Nelson-based sculptor Suzie Moncrieff launched the New Zealand Wearable Art Awards, known today as WOW, to promote a small country art cooperative. The idea had been sparked when she read an article about a fashion parade run by Pamela Elliott of the Compendium Gallery in Auckland. In 1983 Elliott had started hosting fashion parades of clothing made predominantly by women working in fabric and fibre and using techniques that included weaving, tie-dyeing, knitting and batik. The journalist, Amy Brown, described wearable art as the ‘rising star’ of the New Zealand crafts movement. In 1988 Helen Vause,

writing for New Zealand Crafts, argued that wearable art had ‘come of age’ in New Zealand. Seeking to explain the term ‘wearable art’, Brown interviewed five designers and a fashion industry insider. Four of the designers and the fashion industry representative defined it as creative clothing; the sixth person, textile artist Susan Holmes, stated that it ‘had to have an artistic input which takes it beyond fashion’.[i] Moncrieff visited the Compendium but was disappointed by what she saw. She had imagined wearable art to be non-functional sculpture supported on the body, rather than the wearable fabric and fibre work on display. The first brief for her own awards, based in Nelson, was to ‘take art off the walls and adorn the body in wildly wonderful ways’. As the awards developed and the number of entries grew, with participants coming from throughout New Zealand and overseas, it became

closer to her vision of a national and international celebration of creativity that encouraged arts and crafts activity. From 1987 to 1994, the Supreme Award-winning designs were mixedmedia assemblages, papier-mâché or costume pieces. In 1994 she retired the Knit-Weave section, forcing entrants to think of wearable art in forms other than traditional clothing. When in 1995 Debbie Price, a Golden Bay weaver and basketmaker, won the Supreme Award for Moko, it was an acknowledgement that the awards had a place for craft. Moko featured a three-ply, braided green flax bodice inspired by a lizard from myth. In 1996, Susan Holmes won the Supreme Award for Dragon fish, a creature made from handpainted, dyed and stencilled silk organza and recycled baskets and mats — a work that pushed the traditional techniques used in the production of wearable art far beyond clothing.


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Auckland-based fabric artist Susan Holmes won the Supreme WOW Award in 1996 for Dragon Fish, made from hand-dyed and stencilled silk organza, re-cycled baskets and mats

322 Nelson

weaver and basket maker Debra Price won the Supreme WOW Award in 1995 for Moko, made from braided green flax and fringing.

Notes [i] Amy Brown, ‘Art to Don or Display’, New Zealand Listener, 13 June 1987, pp. 34–35; Helen Vause, ‘Wearable Art’, New Zealand Crafts, no. 24, winter 1988, p. 17. [ii] Melissa Leventon, Artwear: Fashion and anti-fashion, Thames and Hudson, London, 2005, pp. 8, 119–22. [iii] Rosie Manins, ‘Hairdresser a Finalist’, Otago Daily Times, 9 August 2012; Samuel White, ‘Putting Boot into Awards’, Otago Daily Times, 30 July 2016. Further reading Smith, Natalie, ‘Nelson’s Wearables: Running from the lion tamer’, MA thesis, University of Canterbury, 2001. World of Wearable Art website: www.worldofwearableart.com About the author Natalie Smith is a teaching fellow at the University of Otago and an independent fashion scholar.


In 2005 the event moved to Wellington, and in 2012 WOW staged a three-year touring exhibition (the first time in over a decade that it had toured New Zealand), offering the opportunity to appreciate the creativity of WOW entrants and the stories behind their work (such as 2006 Supreme Winner Rodney Leong’s The love of Icarus, made from 20,664 collar stays). As a touring exhibition about an ongoing competition, however, there was tension between showcasing the history of WOW, publicising the next events and enticing new entries to take the concept of WearableArt™ to the next level. The exhibition concentrated on recent designs from the 2000s, hinting at the commercial intentions of WOW and signalling the current standard required to enter the competition and to continue the momentum of the WOW venture. In celebrating yet obscuring its own history, WOW’s connection both Craft and belonging

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to craft in New Zealand and to the traditional wearable art genre was lost. In Artwear: Fashion and antifashion, North American scholar Melissa Leventon acknowledges the difficulty in defining the wearable art genre. It is considered to have emerged out of the counterculture movement on the West Coast of the United States of America. In Australia it surfaced in the 1970s, promoted by knitter Jenny Kee and her company Flamingo Park, which produced limited-edition, handmade items of clothing. Leventon argues that what we in New Zealand now think of as wearable art has a ‘shorter history’, dominated by WOW. It is, she writes, ‘exuberant, spectacular, and similar to performance art or theatrical costume’.[ii] Traditional wearable art had flourished in New Zealand through the Compendium Gallery; WOW emerged out of, and in reaction to, the traditionalistic aspects of the genre.

WOW’s success has engaged individuals in crafting and stimulated similar events around the country, often for community fundraisers. Balclutha hairdresser Jennie HaslerJacobs, for example, regularly participates in these events, working with materials as diverse as old shoes sourced from op-shops and the plastic tear tabs from milk bottle tops, echoing an older tradition of collecting silver-foil milk bottle tops for craft projects. She had long dreamed of entering WOW, and in 2012 her entry made of synthetic hair was nominated for the Wellington awards.[iii] Hasler-Jacobs epitomises Moncrieff’s original vision of activating community creativity, a narrative now overshadowed by the ‘craft blockbuster’ (to borrow a term from Namita Wiggers, the co-founder of the North American online craft community Critical Craft Forum) and the flamboyance of WOW.


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ivory, shell, plant fibre, metal 510 × 210 × 44 mm Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Z 2741

Objects Introduction



Erica van Zon Tosswill Woollaston the red shed, 2016 canvas, wool 840 × 860 mm The Dowse Art Museum, 2017.1.1

BLUNT + Flox Limited Edition Fantastical Fantail Metro umbrella 2018 950 mm Courtesy of BLUNT Umbrellas NZ




Unknown maker Tu`i ipu (Sāmoa), 1990 wood, coconut husk 120 × 1083 mm Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, FE010637


Unknown maker Matang (Guam) bamboo, plant fibre, shell 600 × 600 mm Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, 1973.206

Todd Couper Huhū te rangi — the roaring sky, 2017 kauri, paint, ink, MDF 1040 × 445 × 70 mm Courtesy of the artist

Su`a Sulu`ape Alaiva`a Petelo from left: Sausau (tattooing mallet), tunuma (container for storing tattooing implements), `au (tattooing implements) and ipu lama (coconut cup mortar and pestle) (Sāmoa), 1996 wood; wood, fibre, nylon; turtle shell, bone, nylon, wood; wood, coconut shell Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, FE010660; FE010596; FE010597/1; FE010597/3; FE010597/2; FE010597/4; FE010661

1 Craft and island nations p29


Unknown maker Tauihu wood Whakatāne Museum, MP644


Unknown maker Bure kalou (Fiji) plant fibre 1020 × 430 mm Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, 55322 p32

Unknown maker Ra`iātea (Breastplate, Tahiti), 1700–1824 oyster shell, human hair, fibre 350 × 229 mm The British Museum, Oc,LMS.72

Sēmisi Fetokai Potauaine Manuēsina, 2017 Plaztuff and steel 14000 × 1560 mm Courtesy of the artist


Unknown maker Lapita face sherd (Santa Cruz Islands), circa 1000 B.C.E red-slip earthenware Courtesy of the Anthropology Photographic Archive, Department of Anthropology, University of Auckland, 062/M_3_089_001 (5957)


Robert Pinkney and Michael Matchitt Pātītī, 2015 hand-forged iron, wood Courtesy of the artists and Village Arts Gallery


Unknown maker Taumualua (Sāmoa) Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, 1952.58.3, 32856.2

2 Craft on board

p53 p42

Unknown maker Civatabua (Fiji), 1800s

Unknown maker Pātītī with harpoon head 1830s wood, cast iron


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180 × 360 × 36 mm Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, OL001037

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, GH011337



Women of Mailu Pots (Papua New Guinea) pre 1975 clay 160 × 220 mm, 170 × 240 mm Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, 2004.14.1; 2004.14.2 p66


Unknown maker Whalebone chair 1800–1850 whalebone, enamel paint, nails 740 × 420 × 465 mm Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, 1998.81.1

Unknown maker Vaka (Nukutavake) 1700–1767 wood, fibre, coir, coconut palm leaf 4150 × 1000 × 1200 mm The British Museum, Oc1771,0531.1



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Samuel Manson Chair, 1840s hinau, kōwhai Canterbury Museum, 1950.189.1

R Coly Bedside stand, 1838 southern right whale whalebone 1000 × 420 mm

Unknown maker Settee, circa 1830 tōtara 2310 × 720 × 520 mm Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, GH009004


Anton Teutenberg Carved stone heads of Bishop Selwyn and Princess Alexandra, 1860s stone Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, 1964.138, 37624

3 Craft and belief p74


Unknown maker Taumi (Society Islands) 1700s feathers, fibre, shark teeth, dog hair 670 × 660 mm Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, FE000335 p72


Unknown maker Kaitaka, 1700–1776 muka 1720 × 535 mm Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, ME007853


Unknown maker Canoe (Marshall Islands) 635 × 80 mm Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, 1982.33 p72


Unknown maker Incising tools (Tonga) pre 1775 wood, shark’s tooth, coconut fibre; bone, coconut fibre, iron Pitt Rivers Museum, Forster collection 1886.1.1321; 1886.1.1320

1105 × 2205 mm Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, PF000014



Unknown maker Punch ladle, 1850s coconut shell, bone or ivory Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, 1965.78.232


Sulieti Fieme`a Burrows Kahoa heilala, 2015 PVC, satin, nylon, clay Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, 2015.32.1


Unknown maker Samoan headrest (Sāmoa) circa 1800 640 x160 mm Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa, X-596


Unknown maker Tabua (Fiji), 1800s ivory, sennit 160 mm Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, FE012538

Charles Meryon (attributed) Scrimshaw whale tooth whale tooth Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi, MMC535

Gustavus von Tempsky Pair of scrimshaw powder horns, 1864 bullock horn, metal 390 × 83 mm; 374 × 80 mm Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato, 1976/34/1.1-2

SW Silver & Co. Settee, circa 1840 wood, cane, brass


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