Sunday, May 13, 2007

From Slipper Island

Every time I pass through Hamilton I try to visit the local museum, which has a good stash of New Zealand paintings and a superb collection of artifacts from the Tainui iwi. Because the collection is so large and display space is limited, there are different taonga on display every time I visit. The artifacts - carved canoe prows, fragments of razed meeting houses, greenstone mere the colour of karaka leaves, godsticks hidden for decades in flax baskets at the bottom of Waikato swamps - are housed in clear glass cases in a succession of dark rooms; they seem to float in space.

When we visited last week Skyler took this cellphone photo of a carved pumice head found on the Slipper Island, which is part of the turangawaewae of the Tainui subtribe Ngati Hei in the southeast Coromandel.


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