About this object

A rounded boat-shaped waka huia (treasure box) with humanoid female heads at each end of the base forming handles (their bodies are carved on the base). The lid also has looped handles at each end. All carved decoration is on the outside. The main design elements are four doubles spirals on the lid, one in each quarter, with a line of whakarare (a distorted pattern where several parallel ridges regularly curve across a notched ridge between them) along the centre and part of a whakarare across the middle (connecting with whakarare on the base). The base has whakarare along the centre and across the middle. All are superimposed on rauponga (several parallel ridges with a notched ridge in between), arranged diagonally, in curves, in each quarter. The eyes are shell-inlaid with serrated edges. There is a hole in the side of the base, with old repairs, and the lid does not fit very well. There are traces of red paint in the haehae (grooves).

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Oceania: Polynesia: New Zealand
  • Date made
    19th Century
  • Materials
    Abalone (Haliotis sp); Wood; Red Pigment; Carved, inlaid
  • Location
    World Museum, Level 3, World Cultures
  • Acquisition
    Purchased from Norwich Castle Museum, 1956
  • Collector
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    32.0 x 9.5 x 9.0 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. Attributions: Gisborne 1830? (David Simmons, 1978). Acquired by Norwich Castle Museum from Lord Hastings in 1893.
  • Related people
    Lord Hastings ( Previous owner); Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery ( Previous owner)


Previous owners

  • Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery

    Owned from: 1893
    How acquired: Purchase
    Owned until: 1956
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
  • Lord Hastings

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1893
    Disposal method: Unknown or unrecorded
Object view = Humanities
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