About this object

A rounded boat-shaped waka huia (treasure box) with humanoid heads, with protruding tongues at each end of the base forming handles. All carved decoration is on the outside of the box. The main design elements are eight double spirals covering most of base, and eight on the lid, with two humanoid faces on the base and two on the lid at centre sides. Their eyes are shell-inlaid. The surface pattern is based on rauponga (several parallel ridges and grooves with a notched ridge in between). Alternating bands of red and black paint remain in the grooves.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Oceania: Polynesia: New Zealand
  • Date made
    19th Century
  • Materials
    Wood; Abalone (Haliotis sp); Paint Red; Paint Black; Technique: Carved, inlaid
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Gift of Mrs Irene Beasley, 1954
  • Collector
    Harry Geoffrey Beasley
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    64.0 x 24.0 x 11.3 cm
  • Note
    Waka huia were used to store precious personal ornaments such as hei tiki pendants, and hung from the rafters inside a house, suspended by the two handles. Attribution: Gisborne, 1880 (David Simmons, October 1981). Acquired by Beasley from Mr W Oldman, 20 December 1907.
  • Related people
    Harry Geoffrey Beasley ( Collector); Irene Marguerite Beasley ( Previous owner); W Mr Oldman ( Previous owner)


Previous owners

  • Irene Beasley

    Owned from: 1907-12-20
    How acquired: Gift
    Owned until: 1954
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • W Mr Oldman

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Purchase
    Owned until: 1907-12-20
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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