View Full Version : Your Oceanian family heirlooms

01-11-2017, 11:49 PM
I posted this in a thread in the General area, but thought it may be best to post it in a new thread in the Oceanian section, as its more relevant, and more of us can share.

I've just returned from New Zealand in which I spent Christmas and the New Year there seeing family. I went down to Rotorua for a few days which included seeing a Maori taonga (a treasure in Māori culture) connected to my family.

My 6th great grandfather, Papaharakeke, was a warrior within the Ngāpuhi iwi (tribe) who's daughter was also adopted by Tāmati Wāka Nene (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C4%81mati_W%C4%81ka_Nene) (an important chief). This is New Zealand's largest iwi who's ancestral land is in Northland of the North Island.

In 1822 he was killed by Tuhourangi (another tribe in Rotorua) at Motutawa Island (in Rotorua) on the encouragement of Te Rauparaha, who wanted revenge for a relative lost during Ngāpuhi's capture of Te Totara pa (hill fort). In 1823 Hongi Hika (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hongi_Hika) launched his war expedition against Te Arawa (main tribe of Rotorua area) to avenge the murders at Motutawa.

This patu onewa (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patu) (stone club weapon) was made by Ngāpuhi to seek retribution for the death of Papaharakeke, but was never used. In 1933 the Hon. Sir Apirana Ngata (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C4%80pirana_Ngata) presented Papaharakeke to Te Arawa as a token of friendship from Ngāpuhi. Later that year Mr Hamuera Tai Mitchell deposited Papaharakeke in the Auckland Museum on behalf of the Te Arawa Trust Board.

It is now looked after by the Rotorua Museum.

Because of the spiritual and family nature of the patu, only family members can touch such taonga, so therefore the museum curator had to use gloves to move it.

I learnt that there is another story associated with it, that is it was actually used in retribution and killed many men in battle. Either way it was incredible to be able to hold such an important family item, and an important part of New Zealand's Maori history.

Because photography of it isn't allowed, this is an official photo.


Do any other Oceanian members have items that have been passed down from generation to generation?