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Tiki Gateway Carving

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Joy of Museums - Tiki Gateway Carving

Tiki Gateway Carving

This Tiki gateway (kuwaha) carving celebrates a famous Maori ancestor who lived more than ten generations ago on the shores of Lake Rotorua. The renowned carver Te Umanui created this masterpiece in the early 1800s while still a young man.

This Tiki guarded one of three entrances in a Māori stockade that surrounded a fortified hill (Pa) in Rotorua. In the 1830s, the people of Ohinemutu fortified in preparation for an attack by Te Waharoa and his Ngati Haua warriors.

Tiki is a term that refers to significant human figures carved in wood. Also, the small wooden carvings used to mark sacred places and should not be confused with hei-tiki, commonly called tiki. The hei-tiki is an ornamental pendant of the Māori of New Zealand that is worn around the neck.

Tiki Gateway Carving

  • Exhibit:                   Tiki Gateway Carving
  • Carver:                    Te Umanui
  • Materials:               Wood
  • Date:                        Early 1800s
  • Culture:                   Māori
  • Origin:                     North Island, 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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