8 Sep 2019

The enduring treasure of Hei Tiki

From Standing Room Only, 1:31 pm on 8 September 2019

It's been sixty years since a comprehensive book about hei tiki was last written, and so much has been learned about these most precious of Maori adornments during that time. Dougal Austin from Te Papa took on the challenge to write about what he describes as an enduring treasure, and being at the museum gave him access to the largest collection of them in the country. Te Hei Tiki ranges from the earliest known examples of the carved stylized human figures to modern interpretations of them in non-traditional materials. Dougal tells Lynn Freeman that finding lost or discarded hei tiki in archaeological sites is very rare. Te Hei Tiki by Dougal Austin is published by Te Papa Press.