condensed discuss document expanded export feedback print share remove reset document_white enquire_white export_white report_white
discuss document export feedback print share gallery-landscape xml


On display
human history
taumi, 1950.128, 31544, 372a, Cultural Permissions Apply

Images and documents



  • Display location

    Pacific Masterpieces

  • Credit Line
    On loan from Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Gift of the New Zealand Government.
  • Public Access Text

    Tahitian military leaders and leading warriors wore these breast ornaments in battle. As has been suggested by some writers, they may have acted as shields during close hand-to-hand combat. However, taumi were employed primarily to signal the aristocratic status of the wearer, and like other insignia of rank around the Pacific, could be taken as booty from the battlefield.

    Being prestige items, gorgets were presented as tribute to ruling ali’i, high chiefs, and were included among the gifts presented during ceremonial events such as investiture ceremonies. Early accounts suggest that the dogs’ hair and pearl shell incorporated into taumi may have been obtained through trade networks with the Tuamotu Archipelago.

  • Cultural Origin
  • Collection
  • Primary Maker
  • Place
  • Date
  • Media/Materials
  • Measurement Description
    size of sinnet portion excluding hair, length 570mm, width 560mm
    381 x 419.1mm
  • Measurement Reading



  • Classification
  • Last Update
    24 Mar 2023
The development of the Auckland War Memorial Museum online collection is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.

The gift of curiosity

With unlimited free entry to all paid exhibitions, discounted event tickets and exclusive Member-only events, a Museum Membership is the gift that keeps on giving year-round.


The gift of curiosity