237.131 Wk 3 Blog Task: Te Toki-a-Tapiri


Te Toki-a-Tapiri. Photograph by Josiah Martin. Te Ara. Website. War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira




Choose one example of art or design made during one of the first three periods of New Zealand art history as defined by Hirini Moko Mead (Ngā Kākano – the seeds – (circa 900 to 1200 CE); Te Tipunga – the growth (1200 to 1500 CE); Te Puawaitanga – the flowering (1500–1800 AD)). Upload an image of this example. Identify one aspect of the example’s form that directly relates to its context/art historical period. Describe the example, its context, and the relationship between the form and the context in detail (150 – 200 words).

The Te Toki – a-Tapiri is one of the last traditional war canoes or waka taua built in the early nineteenth century. The canoes are made of wood and involves having an essential process of tikanga in building, carving and detailing of the canoes. It is twenty-five metres long and can carry up to a hundred people. It contains a structural crosspiece seat marked with a symbol for example the lizard made sacred for the chiefs. Not only the canoes display beautiful carvings on its body significant to the Maori art and culture but also it illustrates a war canoes’ mana highlight the significance of political agreements and events. The Te Toki-a-Tapiri’s hull was made around 1836 by carvers Tapiri, a prominent ancestor of Ngati Matawhaiti. The hull was gifted to Te Waaka Perohuka of Rongowhakaata before it was completed as a sign of gratitude for assistance in battle. Then Ngati Kaipoho carvers made the prow and sternpost of the waka. Not only the Maori carvings on the canoe indicate east Polynesian influences but also the uncarved waka itself keeps its historical record in the movement of the historical political agreements between tribes in the nineteenth century. From this we know that the Te Toki-a-Tapiri may indicate different carving techniques and other influences it may feature on the waka because of the movement. On the other hand the power it played for its purpose was still successful as the carvers created tikanga on the waka taua.

Works Cited:

Anderson, Atholl, Judith Binney, and Aroha Harris. Tangata Whenua : An Illustrated History. ‘Ancients and Origins’.”Chapter 2: Speaking of Migration” n.p.: Wellington : Bridget Williams Books, 2014. Print.

Hoturoa Barclay-Kerr. ‘Waka – canoes – Waka taua’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand. 9-Jul-13. Web.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s