Commission
Artist
Clive Fugill
Material
Totara (NZ Native)
Form
Wakahuia

Wakahuia

Treasure box
Wakahuia were carved in different shapes and sizes and were primarily made to hold the feathers of the Huia bird – an extinct native bird of New Zealand. Huia were black in colour with white-tipped tail feathers that were worn in the hair as a sign of distinction by people of chiefly rank. Once the feathers and other highly valued belongings – particularly those subject to tapu or restriction – were stored, the wakahuia was suspended in the rafters of the house. Most wakahuia are carved on their underside as a result of this practice.