- Raw material
- hardwood; pearl shell (Pinctada sp)
- H: 1600 mm W: L: D: Circum: 80 mm
As reported for Australian Museum survey 1982: Parrying club, flattening at end. Length 159.5cm; carved top; 142.5cm shaft. Wood. Circumference 8cm top. Elaborately incised at top end ending in a point. Bird like eyes at base of design inlaid with mother of pearl. [St]one missing. As described in 1999 [Bruce Presland] : Staff (‘taiaha’) 157.5 cm long. One end, the striking end or blade (‘rau’) is flat and thin in relation to the shaft. It is 5cm wide near the extremity and 0.5cm in thickness. This flat blade is carved in such a manner as to gradually merge into the handgrip shaft, which is oval in cross section and measures approx. 5cm. The shaft terminates in the head or ‘arero’ formed in the shape of a ‘tongue’. This tongue is adorned with intricate curvilinear carving designs. At the base of the arero is another separate carved section that resembles a face, complete with eyes, mouth, teeth, nose and brow. The slanting and elongated eyes of the ‘face’ are countersunk and contain possibly Haliotis spp, or mother-of-pearl shell. The ‘face’ is replicated on the opposite side in a mirror image. However two of the rounded shells seem to have been lost, as it was customary to have all four ‘eyes’ present. The shaft appears to have a slightly rippled appearance, which is traditionally produced by scraping with sharp-edged stone flakes, or shells, in the process of manufacture. The object is constructed of a dense grained hardwood that was traditionally ‘manuka’ or ‘kahihatoa [Leptospermum ericoides]. The object is deceptively light for its size, and weighs approx. 2.5 to 3 kilograms.
From the series 'What do Objects want? The face of humanity in the UQ Anthropology Museum'.
Attributed to Ngati Kahungunu and may date to the 1830s [Dr Roger Neich, October 1986]