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

Images and documents



  • Display location

    Pacific Lifeways

  • Credit Line
    Collection of Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, 12106
  • Public Access Text

    In the south-eastern Solomons, very light plank-built canoes are designed to be paddled after the shoals of bonito which appear off-shore during March and April. Taking two men and a boy, this canoe has frigate birds and other symbols of bonito fishing inlaid with nautilus shell. The inlaid figure with the bow is Ngorieru, an akalo ni matawa or sea spirit who rides on rainbows and protects fishermen.

    He also punishes wrongdoers by shooting them with garfish arrows from his bow.

    Bonito are regarded as sacred fish. As part of their initiation into manhood, young boys who have been secluded in the canoe house are taken to sea in a bonito canoe to catch their first bonito. Back at the village, a feast is given in their honour and they parade dressed in shell valuables on a platform decorated with figures of sharks, bonito and seabirds. These boys are now called malaohu and can take their place among the men of the village.

  • Cultural Origin
  • Place
  • Media/Materials
  • 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