6. Toki - Adzes

View Map map

What you’re looking at here is a toolkit used to make knives, weapons, agricultural equipment, fishing gear, and jewellery among other everyday items. Tools were made from a huge variety of stone, from fine-grained argillite to abrasive sandstone to basalt, cherts, and shiny black obsidian. Māori developed techniques to work these different kinds of rock.

The tools on the left are toki or adzes made from stone. Shapes could be particular to a region and the type of stone could sometimes dictate use.

The tools on the middle shelf on the right are made out of highly prized pounamu or greenstone. This stone comes in a remarkable range of green hues. The different types are named after natural elements like leaves and fish, and its beautiful grains and textures are brought out with polishing.

Pounamu is a taonga or treasure, and a chief’s weapons and jewellery were made with this luscious green stone. Pounamu is found in the rivers of the South Island. Māori call this island Te Wai Pounamu, meaning the waters of pounamu. Pounamu tools were shaped using the ‘cut and snap’ method, where the stone was almost cut through then snapped. Look down the side of a toki – you should be able to see a groove where the break was made and then smoothed.

Finally, let’s look at the rough sandstone to the left of the case – this is a hōanga or grinding stone. Run your fingers over the deep grooves where toki were sharpened and polished.

Now, turn around and walk past the map towards stop 7, the low case in the middle of the gallery with a model of a settlement.

arrow_back Previous arrow_forward Next