3. Karetao - Puppets

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Because karetao are sacred they were operated by tohunga or experts whose range of skills included brilliant storytelling. They used karetao to tell important tribal histories, to accompany karakia, which are prayers, or to scare off enemies.

Karetao were usually carved from a single piece of wood. They were held upright by the handle at the base. Look around the back of the case to see the cords – these were pulled or slackened to make the arms move like a marionette. When karetao were shaken their arms quivered, imitating a person doing the haka – which is a war dance.

Rhyming songs were sung or recited to accompany the actions of karetao.

Now turn around and look for stop 4, the case in front of you.

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