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Te Toka (Rock)

Rock is the foundation of this whenua (land). It is solidarity, weight, and kaha (strength). It grounds us and provides us whakamarumaru (shelter). Without rock Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland would be a lot flatter, and Mt Smart would be hūmārie kē atu (quieter) on a Saturday night.

He kōrero mō ngā toka karā i tuwhaina mai e ngā maunga hū

I muri i te hūnga o ngā puia o Tāmaki Makaurau ka huri ōna rangitoto hei karā, pēnei i tēnei kōhatu karā. Kua mātaotao ināianei! E ai ki tētahi o ngā kōrero tuku iho a ngā tūpuna, i takea mai te ahi tupua o ngā puia i te raruraru nui i pā ki te tupuna atua nei, ki a Mataaho. Ka whakarērea ia e tana wahine, ka kāwhakina e taua wahine ngā kākahu o tana hoa! Ka omaoma kau a Mataaho, me te makariri o te tinana. Ka tangi atu ki te atua wahine nei ki a Mahuika, ā, ka tukua mai e ia ngā ahi o ngā maunga o Tāmaki hei whakamahana i a ia, e kīa nei ko Ngā Huinga a Mataaho! Mai i tērā rā ki nāianei- ahakoa mātao i tēnei wā - kei konei tonu!

The legend of the lava bomb

Imagine the wera (heat) needed to melt solid toka (rock) inside a volcano. The lava bombs in the Museum's collection are cold now, but once they were sizzling hot. They shot out from real puia (volcanoes) many years ago. One Māori story states that Mataaho is the reason why Auckland has around 55 volcanoes.

When Mataaho’s wife left home, she stole his kākahu (clothes). Stark naked and freezing, he called on the goddess Mahuika for help. She sent him ahi (fire), which formed Ngā Huinga-a-Mataaho (the gathered volcanoes of Mataaho), Auckland’s volcanic field.

Basalt lava bomb, Mt Māngere.

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. GE10055.3.

Ko Tiki te tupuna o te katoa

Ko Tiki-te-poumua te tupuna o te tangata Māori. Ka tīkina te taonga nei te pounamu e ngā tūpuna hei whakaahua i a ia ki te ao. Ina rā tōna āhua i ngā tiki pounamu o ngā iwi maha i konei. Ka noho ēnei taonga hei manatunga mō ngā tūpuna i noho i ō rātou rohe, i ō rātou kāinga, me ngā kōrero o te ao tawhito. Nō ēnei tau tata kua heke mai te mano, mano o ngā uri ki ngā tāone pēnei i Tāmaki Makaurau noho ai. Ka noho ēnei hei-tiki hei tohu mō ēnei iwi huhua, mō ngā waka maha. Kei konei ngā marae maha o ngā rōpū taura here, e noho tahi nei, e rapu oranga nei, e whakaahua tonu nei i ngā āhuatanga hou o te noho hei Māori i te ao hou. Engari ko ngā taura here whanaungatanga ki ngā tūpuna me te wā kāinga e kore e warewaretia e te ngākau Māori.

Hei tiki connecting the people

Pounamu (New Zealand greenstone) is the country’s most treasured and taha wairua (spiritually) significant rock.

Pounamu hei tiki (pendants) may look similar but they are all different. Māori living in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland are equally matahuhua (diverse), coming from different iwi (tribes) from all over Aotearoa New Zealand. Every iwi produces their own distinctive hei tiki.

For Māori, hei tiki create vital connections with faraway whānau (family) and whenua (land).

Hei Tiki, Taranaki, made by Rangi Kipa.

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 644076.

What the elephant did up the mountain

Auckland has heaps of karā (volcanic basalt rock) and it’s solid as.

Tom the erewhana (elephant) was of royal pedigree, belonging to Queen Victoria's son Prince Alfred. Tom loved lollies, the odd pint of beer, and had silver rings in his huge flapping taringa (ears).

The Prince visited Auckland in 1870 and his young elephant’s antics caused quite a stir. But when we needed to build a trig station up Mt Eden, Tom’s strength came in handy. He was called on to lug the massive load of rock all the way to the tihi (top).

Ceramic elephant, Crown Lynn, c.1950s.

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1997.44.3.

A guitar pedal selling like hotcakes

Te hunga whakatangitangi (musicians) have been rocking out in Auckland for a long time.

Who's heard of Split Enz? Well, back in 1976, the band's talented drummer Paul Crowther invented the now world-famous Hotcake guitar-effect pedal. Since then it's been used by Oasis, Sonic Youth, Pavement and many more. We have one in the Museum's collection. What an oro (sound)! And guess what? He’s still making them in Balmoral.

Hotcake overdrive pedal, 1975 (2015 edition), made by Paul Crowther.

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira.

Geared up for Springbok rugby protests

Sometimes rocks are thrown in riri (anger). Can you believe that a kēmu whutupōro (rugby game) could incite a riot? That’s what happened when the all-white South African rugby kapa (team) arrived here in 1981.

Tensions boiled over and rocks started to rere (fly) in the streets. Protesting against the kaikiri (racist) apartheid laws in South Africa, some Aucklanders took to wearing helmets and body armour for protection.

Cardboard chest protector, donated by Mark Scott.

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. IL99.5.


Cite this article

MacFarlane, Kirsten. Te Toka (Rock). Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 5 June 2015. Updated: 21 June 2016.
URL: www.aucklandmuseum.com/collections-research/collections/topics/te-toka-rock

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