19. Taurapa - Sternposts

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These beautifully carved taurapa are the sternposts of waka taua or war canoes. Taurapa are always decorated with manaia – the bird-man figure at the top of the post. Look closely and you will see him biting down on two vertical ribs. These ribs represent the two principles of knowledge and life.

Most carvers believe the manaia is a guardian spirit. The spirals surrounding the manaia are called pītau.

When you’ve finished looking here compare these taurapa with Te Toki a Tāpiri’s behind you.

You’re now at the end of our tour. Thanks for joining us. We hope you’ve learned some more about the richness and vitality of Māori culture. Ka kite anō! See you again!

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