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Kumete Koha

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Kumete Koha

Kumete Koha

Two squatting figures support this Kumete with a carved lidded presentation bowl. One naturalistic and one ‘wheku’ a Maori term meaning ‘carved face,’ depicting the face of an ancestor. On the lid are two figures, reclining so that the heads touch. To either side of these is a low-relief koruru or ancestor head.

The entire kumete has been carved with rauponga designs. Paua shell insets have been used in the eyes and around the lid and bowl. The kumete has been signed, “NA PATOROMU” on the neck of the naturalistic figure, the name of the carver Patoromu Tamatea. Patoromu Tamatea lived in the Rotorua area. This is one of three bowls by Patoromu carved between 1865 and 1885.

A metal hinge and lock were attached to the kumete. It was transformed into a coin box and was initially positioned at the museum entrance for the collection of donations.

Kumete Koha

  • Exhibit:                  Kumete Koha
  • Artist:                     Patoromu Tamatea; carver
  • Materials:              Wood
  • Date:                       c 1870’s
  • Culture:                  Māori
  • Origin:                    New Zealand
  • Museum:                Auckland War Memorial Museum

A Tour of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Tāmaki Paenga Hira

A Tour of New Zealand’s Museums


“As man disappears from sight, the land remains.”
– Maori Proverb


Photo Credit: JOM

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