Hand Carved Toki Poutangata on Stand - by Jason Holder
NZ Swamp Kauri Wood.
NZ Totara Wood base.
Handcarved by Jason Holder - Maniapoto Iwi.
Toki Poutangata - 37cm x 17.5cm x 6cm
Base - 43.5cm x 6cm x 5cm
About Toki Poutangata:
A badge of office.
A symbol of high rank and mana.
Prestige and power - with manaia, spiritual guardians.
A toki poutangata is a ceremonial adze worked from pounamu or greenstone that is usually lashed to a finely carved handle. Almost invariably carried by a person of mana, someone of high rank and with great leadership qualities, they were often adorned with the feathers of significant birds. Such birds included the kaka, kahu, and the kereru. Perhaps the nearest equivalent in European culture is the sceptre, used by kings as a symbol of rank and power and bearing the spiritual symbolism of the Christian cross.
Toki poutangata were used on ceremonial occasions, such as the felling of a great tree for a significant waka (canoe) or for the ridgepole of a whare nui or meeting house. The first chips cut from the tree were taken by the tohunga to a special place where karakia of thanksgiving were recited to the god of the forest, Tanemahuta in acknowledgement of the sacrifice of his offspring. The chips might also be returned ceremonially to the forest to nurture new growth.
It is believed that the toki poutangata was originally used for the ceremonial execution of captives. Upon the death of its owner, the special handle was buried with them while the pounamu blade remained with the tribe. Once it had been decided who would succeed the chief, another handle was fashioned and lashed to the adze.