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Co-curated display space

Toki taraī (hafted adzes)

Our second display for the Pacific Collection Access Project was co-curated with Tauraki Raea, who selected the works and wrote both the English and Cook Islands display text.

The display of Toki taraī (hafted adzes) outside the Pacific Collection Access Project space.

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira.

Ko te toki taraī e manganui uatu rai tona puapinga ki te ui tupuna. Mei te uri'anga i te au ngai tanutanu, te akatu are, e pera te to'i'anga vaka.

I Aitutaki e āva ana ratou i teia e, e toī. E ruā tu toī. Ko te pu roāroā e ava iana e ko te 'oma, na teia e akaoonu i te au ngai ka to'i. Ko te titoma ko te toki pu poto teia e nana e akaoti i te angaanga i te mea oki e kare te reira e ririnui ana. Na te titoma e akaoti e te akamanea i te angaanga.

E maani iana te maataanga o te pu o te au toki taraī mei roto mai i te rakau tamanu no te ngoie oki i te taraī i te reira rakau. Ko te koī o te maataanga i te au toki taraī a te Mangaia e ke'o. Noatu e te taanganga nei ratou i toka kerekere, ko te ke’o te mea pakari.

The toki taraī (hafted adze) served our ancestors as a multi-purpose tool. They used it as a spade for cultivating, as a tool for carving and building shelters, and to hollow out huge tree trunks to build canoes.

The toki taraī is called a toī in Aitutaki. There are two types of toī, the ‘oma (long-handled adze) and the titoma (short-handled adze). The ‘oma is used at the beginning of the canoe building process to quickly carve out huge chunks of wood. Finishing touches are done with the titoma. The ‘oma allows more force while the titoma is more subtle.

Handles were most commonly made with Pacific mahogany, which is hard and easy to work with. Blades were made from basalt, called pu‘a in Aitutaki. In Mangaia the blades were usually made of ke’o (Mangaian rock), which is harder and a less brittle form of flint. The shorter pedestal adze is made of ke’o.

Toki tikitiki [detail]. Mangaia.

Gift of Mr George Graham, 1932.Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. AM 18909.

Mangaian adze symbols 

Ko te au akairo i runga i teia au toki, ko te akakite’anga teia i te oraanga o te ui tupuna. Ko te "X" ko te akairo ia no te taokotai e te angaanga kapiti i rotopu i te iti tangata. Ko te uri tua o te nga "K", ko te akairo teia i te tapekapeka’anga te teina e te tuakana a Raumea raua ko Tuanuku ia raua mokotua ki te mokotua kia rauka ia raua i te paruru atu tetai i tetai ma te tamaki atu I to raua enemi. Kua rongonui raua i teia tu tamakianga na raua i riro ei e akairo puapinga i teia tuatau. I runga katoa i teia akatikitikianga te akairo o te maunga ei akaari i te au ngai tei taeria ia e te ui tupuna i mua ake ka tae atu ei ki te enua. Ko te ni’o mango tetai akairo puapinga roa atu ei akaari te uki tupaupau tuatau.

The stories of the Mangaian people are engraved onto the pedestals of these adze blades. The back-to-back Ks represent the brothers Tuanuku and Raumea, famous for fighting their enemies tied back to back – because they had each other’s back they won the battle. This symbol is seen in almost all Mangaian designs. The X line-up stands for communities working hand in hand. The triangle is the shark’s tooth which symbolises a people that will never die. Though Mangaia is flat, the zig-zag motif could signify the hills of the islands where their ancestors may have lived before arriving at Mangaia.

 

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