5. Whakarei - Adornment

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The discs, reels, and divided spheres you see here are shapes found all around the Pacific. The whale tooth forms that flick out at the bottom link Māori culture to other Polynesian cultures, as do the notched edges on some of these pieces.

Take a look at the dark disc pendants on the left – these are very rare. They are made of local serpentinite rock from around Nelson. Pendants with a similar shape would have been made from shell in the Pacific, but when Māori came to Aotearoa they had a wider range of stone materials to choose from.

The black pendant in the shape of a whale tooth, number 10, has a line of notches running along its middle and ends in a flat carved head, which also shows a Polynesian influence.

Notches can also be seen on the large reel at the back of the case. These reels would have been threaded to make necklaces. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and have been made from a range of materials like serpentinite, ivory, and moa bone. The most common form had a central ridge.

Let’s go and look at some other items made out of stone. Turn to the right, then left at the end of the case, and walk to stop 6 – the display case in the corner.

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