The Stone Implements of the Maori
We give below a brief description of the more common forms of stone adzes met with in New Zealand. Not that what we term "normal" or common forms are of the same shape or size, for they differ considerably in size, weight, contour, form of blade, shape of page 236poll, faces, and sides; still, such items are numerous, and represent the forms that are found in the greatest number.
We commence with one of the big, heavy adzes, such as were used for dubbing down heavy timbers, roughing out canoes, &c. (see Fig. 15, Plate III). This specimen is 12½ in. long, 3¼ in. wide on the cutting-edge, from which point it narrows back to 1¾ in. at the poll. Its thickest part, at the shoulder, is 1⅞ in., and it is 1⅝ in. at 4½ in. from the poll, from which place the face and sides have been chipped down in order to give a good grip to the lashing. The blade is 4⅛ in. long, and has a prominent shoulder. Though the angle of the blade-bevel is somewhat low, averaging 30°, except near the cutting-edge, where it is nearer 50°, yet the great thickness of the tool at the shoulder gives it strength. The width across the shoulder is 2¾ in., and across the face opposite the shoulder it is nearly 3½ in., showing that there is a marked slope inwards of the sides. This specimen weighs 4 lb. 14 oz., and has been entirely ground, except at the butt end. The stone is a fine black aphanite.
A large broad-bladed adze of grey stone in the Otago University Museum is 17¼ in. long, 4¾ in. wide across the cutting-edge, from which part it narrows back to 2½ in. at the butt end, the poll being somewhat irregularly rounded (see Fig. 15a, Plate XXX, which is from a cast in the Dominion Museum). At its thickest part this tool is about 2¼ in. It has been ground, but not so as to efface all fracture-marks. Near the butt the back shows a hollow, as though the implement had been made from a float piece of stone, water-worn on its faces. The sides are rounded, but the transverse convexity of face and back is not pronounced. The form of blade is truly adze-like, and no marked shoulder exists, the falling-away of the back to form the blade being unusually short. This implement would be used for heavy dubbing-work.
In Fig. 15b, Plates XXII and XXIII, we have a fine example of the Maori stone adze of the large type. This item is in the Buller Collection, and is 13½ in. long, 3½ in. wide across the cutting-edge, then narrowing back to 1½ in. across the poll. Thickness, 1⅝ in. at the shoulder, and practically the same to within 3 in. of the poll. Weight, 5¼ lb. The back of this tool is about ½ in. narrower than the face, a peculiarity noted in a goodly number of the well-finished class of* stone adzes, and which adds much to the symmetrical appearance of the implement. The face is slightly convex transversely, and markedly so longitudinally. The back is somewhat concave lengthwise, and the sides straight. The blade 3¼ in. long from cutting-edge to the well-rounded shoulder, and carries an angle of 50° near the cutting-edge, easing to 40° or somewhat less on the upper part of page 237the blade. The back of the blade is slightly convex transversely, and, as is usual, the sides are convex in a like direction. Cutting-edge keen and almost flawless. This implement is well finished, ground and worked to a smooth polished surface on all parts exposed when hafted. The light-grey colour of the stone and its polished surface render this item a very attractive one. Material, a greenish-white aphanite, with white inclusions.
Fig. 15c, Plate XXIII, presents one of the best type of Maori stone adzes, being of symmetrical form and superb finish, all surfaces, except the butt end which would be covered by the lashing, being ground smooth and carrying a fine polish. The slightly convex surfaces of back, face, and sides, the sweep of the "timber spring," sloping sides, the longitudinal convexity and transverse concavity of the blade-bevel, the incurved shoulder-line, slightly curved cutting-edge, and finely polished surfaces, all tend to place this type at the top level of the Maori art of stone-working. This implement is 11¼ in. long, 3⅜ in. wide across the cutting-edge, and 2 in. across the poll. Thickness, 1¾ in. back of shoulder, but less at the butt end, where the face has been dressed down to accommodate the lashing, leaving two small knobs at the corners of the poll. The blade-bevel is slightly over 50° near the cutting-edge, but, as usual, declines higher up the blade, where increased thickness imparts additional strength. Weight, 5 lb. Material, black aphanite. Franklyn Flat.
A large type is represented by a huge adze of black aphanite, 15½ in. long, and weighing 7¼ lb. (see Fig. 16, Plate IV). It is 3¾ in. wide across the cutting-edge, whence it decreases gradually in width to 2 in. at the butt end. The heavy rounded shoulder is 2¼ in. thick, from which the thickness decreases to 1⅜ in. at the butt end. The face, instead of being regularly convex longitudinally, as is common, has a curious hollow in the middle, albeit a slight one. The face, however, falls away rapidly at the butt end, and has the usual bevel toward the cutting-edge, though a somewhat light one for so large a tool. The back is concave longitudinally, and both it and the back of the blade are still unground. It is assuredly an unfinished form. The sides are straight longitudinally and flat transversely. The angle of inclination of the blade is about 35°, but doubtless in grinding this would be increased near the cutting-edge.
In the Buller Collection is an abnormally huge adze that was found among the sandhills at Horowhenua, near Ohau. This item is even larger than the famed Awhio-rangi, and it is difficult to imagine what it was used for. This tool is 22/12; in. long, 4/316; in. wide across the cutting-edge, 4⅛ in. across the shoulder, and 2½ in. across the poll. Thickness at shoulder 1¾ in., at poll ⅝ in., and 1½ in. at a page 238point half-way between the poll and shoulder. Weight, 11¾ lb. (see Plate XLIV). This colossal tool is essentially an adze, fashioned and finished in the orthodox manner, but it must have been a very clumsy tool to use on account of its great weight. For the same reason the handle must have been a large one with a long foot, or the operator would have no control over the tool. In comparison with its great length, this implement is thin in blade and body, the former carrying a very low angle of inclination. The face of the tool is slightly bevelled for about 1½ in. at the blade end, to form the cutting-edge, and is then straight and level longitudinally for 1 ft., after which it falls away rapidly to the poll. Transversely it shows the usual convexity, but not to any marked extent. The back, from shoulder to poll, is concave longitudinally to an unusual extent, and somewhat convex transversely. All longitudinally edges are sharply defined. The sides are straight and flat longitudinally, and slightly convex transversely. In width the adze narrows evenly backward from cutting-edge to poll. The butt end has been reduced on the face for the lashing, and for that length has not been ground, but the chipped surfaces have been levelled by bruising. On the face of the butt end the bruising has been extremely well executed. The blade is 6¼ in. long from cutting-edge to shoulder, showing the usual longitudinal convexity, but a remarkable concavity transversely. This latter feature extends right up to the prominent shoulder, and imparts to it the curve noted in some other specimens. The longitudinal edges of the blade are square and sharply defined. The blade is abnormally thin, showing an angle of about 30° near the cutting-edge and 15° on the upper part. The cutting-edge is thus unusually thin, and carries a very keen edge. It is practically flawless, and we believe that if suitably hafted a powerful man could hew a clean face on a bulk of timber with this implement. The back of this implement is about ¼ in. narrower than the face, and the whole tool is remarkably symmetrical and well finished. All surfaces save those covered by lashing are ground smooth, and have apparently been burnished in order to remove striæ caused by grinding. This specimen shows signs of having been chipped into form, then hammered or bruised, and then ground. The longitudinal concavity of the back appears to have been intentional, as it probably was in other specimens of a similar form. The material is black aphanite. Franklyn Flat.
In his monograph on Hawaiian stone implements, Mr. Brigham depicts a huge stone adze, 21½ in. in length, that was found wrapped up in a walled-up cave. It appears to be rough-chipped, save the blade, which appears to have been ground. It weighs 9¼ lb.page 239
A very fine specimen of a Maori stone adze was discovered recently by Mr. R. Bredow, lying on the face of a slip on his property at Douglas (Stratford district). The adze, which, except for a small gap in the cutting-edge, is in a perfect state of preservation, measures 16 in. in length, and is 4 in. wide. Mr. Bredow presented this fine specimen to the Dominion Museum. Prior to coming across this interesting curio, Mr. Bredow had never seen a stone of any description on his Douglas property.
Our next example is one of the finest and best-finished adzes in the Museum (see Fig. 17, Plate IV). It is 14½ in. long, and weighs 5¾ lb.; hence it is considerably over the average size and weight. It is 3½ in. wide across the cutting-edge, and thence narrows back to 2½ in. at the butt end. Thickness, 1⅝ in. at the shoulder, 1 9/16 in. at 2 in. back from the shoulder, and holding the same thickness to within 5½ in. of the poll, from which point the face falls away to a thin poll of ⅝ in. The longitudinal convexity is very slight. The back is flat for 8½ in. from the poll, when it begins to rise to a prominent raised shoulder. The sides slope inwards, which cause the back to be considerably narrower than the face, the difference in width being ¾ in. for a considerable part of the length of the tool, though, as usual in specimens of this type, the difference decreases toward the poll. The sides are straight longitudinally, and slightly curved transversely. The blade is large, 3⅛ in. long, and of the usual form, being convex both ways. The angle of inclination of the blade is 32° in its upper part and nearly 50° near the cutting-edge. This tool is most symmetrical in form, and is well ground and polished. The stone is siliceous mudstone. Source not known.
Probably the most beautiful specimen of the stone adze-maker's art in the Museum is one of remarkably fine black aphanite (see Fig. 18, Plate V), which is 7½ in. long, 2¼ in. wide across the cutting-edge, and narrowing back to 1⅜ in. at the poll. The face is almost flat transversely, and is also flat longitudinally to within 1½ in. of the cutting-edge, whence it is bevelled slightly. The back is flat longitudinally for 3 in. from the poll, and then rises gradually to a prominent transverse ridge on the shoulder. Thus, from the top of the shoulder-ridge the back shows a fine concave sweep back to the poll, and it is very slightly convex laterally. The sides are straight longitudinally, and but very slightly convex transversely. They slope inwards from the face, so as to make the back ¼ in. narrower than the face. The blade is 2½ in. long and 1 13/16 in. wide across the top—that is, at the shoulder. It has the peculiarity of being concave transversely to within ¼ in. of the cutting-edge. Its angle of page 240inclination is 30° in its upper part and about 45° near the cutting-edge. The prominent shoulder-ridge is curved, with the crown thereof toward the poll. Weight, 1¼ lb. This specimen resembles closely in form and finish the last one described, though much smaller. It is beautifully formed, ground, and polished, and looks like a piece of polished black metal. The face and edges have been chipped down for 2½ in. from the poll, to accommodate the lashing. The only blemish on this tool is a gap in the cutting-edge.
The longitudinal edges of the last two items are sharply defined.
The peculiarity of a prominent transverse ridge on the shoulder is almost confined to thick and medium forms, being very seldom seen on a thin adze. We note one specimen 10 in. long, and but 1 in. thick, that has a semicircular transverse ridge on the shoulder-line. The sweep of the blade is continued unbroken to the top of the ridge, which might perhaps be better described as a shoulder than as a supplementary ridge.
All those who have perused any account of Maori traditions know the above named as that of a very ancient and highly tapu stone axe, or adze, that is said, in Maori myth, to have been used by Tane wherewith to cut material to prop up the Sky Parent when separated from Mother Earth. We decline to guarantee the truth of this statement, but this item is evidently an old implement, and may have been brought from the isles of Polynesia, as is affirmed by the Maori people, when they came to New Zealand. This stone implement is probably one of the most intensely tapu items now in possession of the Maori people. Very few men would dare, or be allowed, to touch it. If handled or even seen by any unauthorized person, we are told on native authority that some convulsion of nature, such as a severe storm, is sure to ensue.
The material of which the Awhio-rangi is made has not been ascertained; but it would be of much interest to do so, inasmuch as it might tend to throw some light on the question of the origin of this implement.
"Te Awhio-rangi is a red-looking axe, the material looking something like china, and speckled like the bird pipiwharau-roa. A person can see his face reflected in it. It is 1 ft. 6 in. long and 1 in. thick; the cutting-edge is 2½ in."
This prized and sacred heirloom has been in the possession of the Nga-Rauru Tribe, of Wai-totara, for many generations, though known traditionally to all tribes. Its whereabouts was long unknown, page 241it having been concealed by a former custodian, and the place of concealment forgotten, until it was found in 1887 and carried to the village home with much ceremony.
The following item, contributed by Mr. Downes, of Whanga-nui, tends to show that the Awhio-rangi was formerly in possession of the "Takitimu" immigrants:—
Extracts From a History of the Ngati-kahungunu Tribe
Referring to the Stone Axe, Te Awhio-Rangi
1. Voyage of "Takitimu" to New Zealand
After a few nights had passed they encountered a great storm, and Tamatea, looking upon the high waves, said, "Surely this is Tutara-moana. The people on ahead of us have done this to prevent us following them. Get out the toki tapu (sacred axe) Awhio-rangi, and recite a karakia (invocation, charm), so that we may cut a path through the waves rolling before us. 1 know who has done this. It was Ngatoro-i-rangi (of the 'Arawa' vessel). No other priest would dare to do it." Rua-waru (?Rua-wharo) remarked, "Why do you blame him? He is one of our people." Tamatea replied, "He did it under instructions from Tama-te-kapua, of Te Arawa, who would tell him to do anything to prevent us following. Tama-te-kapua was always known as our enemy by his evil deeds. Bear in mind how he stole the whakamarumaru (shade tree: meaning fruit of the shade-giving breadfruit tree, kuru), which act compelled him to leave the land before us."
Rongo-patahi then recited a charm to calm the waves ahead of "Takitimu," and soon the sea was calm, there being no sign of the recent storm save the white foam.
When the storm had subsided it was found that the two canoes had parted, the "Hoturoa" (?) being no longer visible.
2. How the "Aotea" Immigrants obtained Te Awhio-rangi
When Turi, of the "Aotea" canoe, heard that Tamatea had come to Whanga-nui he told his people to collect a large present of food, and when all was prepared he and his people went from Patea to Putiki-whara-nui to visit Tamatea … When the party arrived Turi presented his baskets of kumara, taro, hinau, kiore, kereru (sweet potatoes, berry meal, rats, pigeons, &c). After the feast was over the visitors stayed with Tamatea for some time. After a while the daughter of Turi, who had married a man named Kawa-kai-rangi, fell in love with Uhenga-ariki, the brother of Tamatea. She told her desire to her mother (Rongorongo), who, after talking the matter over with Turi, decided that, as Tane-roa's husband was a nobody, she should be given to Uhenga-ariki. So Turi and Rongo-rongo went to Uhenga-ariki, and said, "We have now been with you a long time; we have dwelt together from the seventh to the eighth (months), but we must now return to our own place. Before we go we wish to give page 242you our daughter Tane-roa as a wife, for she is willing to take you as a husband." As this was pleasing to Tamatea and Uhenga-ariki, they were married, and on the occasion of the marriage Tamatea presented to the daughter of Turi the great adze Te Awhio-rangi, which had cut a path through the storm on the way from Hawaiki.
This was how Te Awhio-rangi went to the Patea district.
In Tregear's Dictionary is the following item:—
Awhio-rangi, a celebrated stone axe, lost for many years, but recovered (with, as related, miraculous incidents) in 1887. See Korimako of the 20th January, 1888. This axe is supposed to have been brought to New Zealand by Turi, the navigator, and to have descended to him from the great god Tane. For an account of this axe being used to shape the props of earth and sky, see White's "Ancient History of the Maori," vol. i, p. 161, English part.
In Mr. Percy Smith's "History and Traditions of the Maoris of the West Coast," at page 28, is a short extract from a song, It runs as follows:—
Ko Hahau-tu-noa te waka o Te Kahui-rua
I ruku ai nga whatu
Ka rewa ki runga ra
Ko te whatu a Ngahue
Hoaina, ka pakaru.
Hahau-tu-noa was the canoe of Te Kahui-rua
From which were the stones dived for,
And then floated up above
The Stone of Ngahue
By spells broken up, &c.
Of this item, Mr. Smith says, "If we may take this for history, it shows that Te Kahui-rua was a man, or perhaps with more probability, a company of men, and they must have made a voyage in a canoe named 'Hahau-tu-noa' to the west coast of the Middle Island, and there have procured, by diving, some greenstone; for Te Whatu a Ngahue (or Ngahue's stone) is an emblematical or poetical term for the jade."
The story of the finding of the Awhio-rangi may be found in the "Journal of the Polynesian Society," vol. ix, page 229. It was hidden seven generations ago, and found on the 10th December, 1887.
The place where the axe (adze?) had been hidden was known traditionally to the Nga-Rauru Tribe, because Rangi-taupea, he who concealed it, had informed his people, saying, "Te Awhio-page 243rangi lies hidden at Tieke, on the flat above the cave of sepulchre." That place has never been trespassed on for these seven generations, until Tomai-rangi found the axe. This women was a stranger, and knew not that she was trespassing on a sacred place. She was gathering fungus, and chanced to see the famed toki in a hollow tree, where it had been concealed seven generations before. Of course, a most alarming thunder-storm ensued at once, which was calmed by a worthy shaman reciting charms. Shortly after this the ancient implement was exhibited to some three hundred natives, who had gathered to view it. The account given by Wiremu Kauika in the above journal runs as follows: "It was placed on a post that all might see it. Then the priests, Kapua-tautahi and Werahiko Taipuhi, marching in front reciting their karakia (a charm or incantation), were followed by all the people, each carrying a branch in his hand, to the post, where all cried over Te Awhio-rangi. As they approached the spot the thunder rolled, the lightning flashed, and the fog descended till it was like night. Then the priests repeated charms, and it cleared up, after which the people all offered to the axe their green branches, besides the following articles: six parawai, four koroai, four para-toi, and two kahu waero cloaks. Following the presentation came a great wailing and crying over the illustrious axe, and then some songs were sung in which Te Awhio-rangi is referred to."
In this curious ceremony of greeting and wailing over the prized implement we note an old custom of the natives when viewing some implement or ornament handed down from their ancestors of long-dead generations. The offerings of green branches and handsome high-class cloaks carries the mind back to the axe-worship of Oriental lands in times long passed away, a cult of which so many tokens have of late been discovered in Crete. It is highly probable that the Awhio-rangi was a ceremonial implement, and probably an emblem. Kauika remarks that the Awhio-rangi became the mana (?authoritative emblem) of all adzes in this world: "The case, or covering, of Te Awhio-rangi was named Rangi-whakakapua. The lashing was called Kawe-kai-rangi. The handle was called Mata-a-heihei. The axe descended in the line of elder sons from Tane (he who separated Sky and Earth) to Rakau-maui, and from him to his great grandson Turi, who brought it across the seas in the 'Aotea' canoe to New Zealand."
In a communication sent to the Puke-ki-Hikurangi (Maori newspaper) of the 31st May, 1902, Te Whatahoro gives some interesting notes on the Awhio-rangi, and the bringing of nephrite adzes from Hawaiki—that is, from the isles of Polynesia:—page 244
Nga kowhatu i taraia ai a Takitimu e nga tohunga nei, he kohurau, he kara, he onewa, he pounamu, koia tenei nga kowhatu e mahia ana hei toki tarei waka, me era atu mahi whare, pa taua.
Nga toki pounamu o Hawaiki mai i raro i te mana o Te Rongo-patahi, o Rua-wharo, o Matapara; ko Te Awhio-rangi, ko Te Whiro-nui, ko Te Rakuraku-o-Tawhaki, ko Hui-te-rangiora, ko Matangi-rei, ka mutu nga mea i marama.
Ko Te Awhio-rangi, ko Te Whiro-nui, enei toki pounamu e rua, he toki tapu, he toki poipoi ki te aroaro o nga atua, kaore e taraia ana ki te rakau. I mutu atu te mahi a aua toki i te topetopenga a Tane-nui-a-rangi i nga toko o Rangi; tuarua, i te kotikotinga i nga ngaru tupa i a Takitimu nei ka mutu atu.
The stones (of which adzes were made) by which the vessel "Takitimu" was hewed out by the adepts were kohurau, kara, onewa, and pounamu (nephrite). Such were the stones from which the canoe-hewing adzes were fashioned, being also used in house and fort construction.
The nephrite adzes brought from Hawaiki under the mana of Te Rongo-patahi, Rua-wharo, and Matapara, were Te Awhio-rangi, Te Whiro-nui, Te Rakuraku-o-Tawhaki, Hui-te-rangiora, and Matangi-rei. Those are all I am clear about.
Regarding the Awhio-rangi and Te Whiro-nui: these two nephrite adzes were tapu adzes that were "waved" before, or offered to, the gods; they were not used as tools wherewith to work timber. Those adzes were last used in such a manner when Tane-nui-a-rangi cut the supports of Rangi (the sky), and, secondly, when used to hew a way through the billows that obstructed "Takitimu."
The above item, which has just come to light from an old scrap-book, is from a high authority in Maori lore. It shows plainly that the Awhio-rangi was purely a ceremonial implement, and never used as a tool. It was handled only by tapu persons of the priestly class, who manipulated it during certain sacred ceremonies, when it was offered to or waved toward the gods, or the material representations of such gods. In Maori ritual it was a common act to take an offering in the hand and wave it toward the gods.
It is strange that Te Whatahoro should refer to the Awhio-rangi as being made of nephrite (pounamu), whereas it seems to be quite a different stone, judging from what we have heard of it. The names of the ancient stone adzes Hui-te-rangiora and Te Rakuraku-o-Tawhaki are known to the Tuhoe Tribe. It is probable that all the old stone implements known to all the native tribes of New Zealand were Polynesian items, which may or may not have been brought hither to these isles.
After the above item was published, Te Rangi-takoru, of Whangaehu, wrote to the Puke-ki-Hikurangi claiming the Awhio-rangi for page 245the "Aotea" canoe. He states that it was brought to this land by Turi in "Aotea," and refers to it as the supernatural or god-like adze. Three other renowned stone adzes were brought in "Aotea." The Awhio-rangi was handed down to the descendants of Turanga-i-mua (son of Turi, chief of the "Aotea" immigrants). The name of its handle was Kawe-kai-rangi. The kaupare and lashing were known as Pare-te-rangi and Whakakapua. The under-cord that connected with the shaft of the handle (kakau) was the kaha paepae. The kaupare mentioned is evidently the wedge described elsewhere as being inserted in the lashing.
The Awhio-rangi was used, as we have seen, to sever the primal parents, earth and sky. The Sky Parent and Earth Mother originally embraced each other closely, and the Awhio-rangi was employed as a means of severing their arms as they clung to each other, so that the sky might be forced upward, and the Earth Mother turned over that she might face downward toward Rarohenga, the under-world, known in full as the Muriwai ki Rarohenga.
It was Rata who deposited the Awhio-rangi and Whiro-nui in Te Kohurau, the cave of Muri-rangawhenua. When the "Takitimu" canoe left, Tamatea sent Te Rongo-patahi to fetch their adzes from Te Kohurau. They were so obtained by Te Rongo-patahi and Rua-wharo. Two other adzes, Te Rakuraku-o-Tawhaki and Hui-te-rangiora, were left behind at Te Kohurau. It was the Awhio-rangi that was used during the voyage of "Takitimu" to New Zealand, wherewith to hew a passage for the vessel through the great billows of Hinemoana (the ocean) that barred the progress of "Takitimu." Te Rongo-patahi and Tamatea were the custodians of the Awhio-rangi, while Whiro-nui was in the care of Rua-wharo.
The Awhio-rangi was brought to New Zealand in the above vessel, and shortly afterwards passed into the possession of the Turi family, of Patea, who were "Aotea" immigrants from Polynesia. When Tane-roa, daughter of Turi, was taken as a wife by Uhenga-ariki, of "Takitimu," then the Awhio-rangi was handed over to them, and has remained in the possession of their descendants to the present time.
A huge adze found north of Whanga-nui some time since, we have not been able to examine, but have a few notes concerning it. Its length is 21 in.; width across cutting-edge 5 in., across the shoulder 4⅜ in., and across the poll 2⅝ in. The back is straight longitudinally, and convex transversely; the back of the blade is also convex both ways. The upper part of the face is said to be concave longitudinally. The length of the blade-bevel on the back, from cutting-edge to shoulder, is 6 in. The sides are straight, the inward trend of the same page 246from cutting-edge to poll being remarkably even throughout their entire length. Apparently the original is a symmetrical, well-finished implement of the usual adze-form. We are at a loss to conceive how such a huge adze was used, but it is quite possible that this, as also the large adze of the Buller Collection, were ceremonial implements, and were not used as tools. (See Plate XL.)
One of the largest items in the Museum is a cast of an adze found at Otago Heads. It is 16¾ in. long, 4¾ in. wide at the cutting-edge, decreasing gradually in width back to the poll, where it is 2¼ in. It is 2 in. thick from the shoulder back to the middle of the tool, and from there to the poll is hollowed longitudinally, apparently the result of some natural flaw in the material of the original. Its longitudinal edges are rounded.
One heavy adze, of about 5½ lb. weight, has a cutting-edge angle of 40°, which drops to 20° higher up the blade.
In Fig. 19, Plate XXIX, we have a very good type of stone adze, symmetrical, well finished on all exposed parts save the poll, and of a material that was highly favoured by the Maori adze-maker of yore. This specimen is made of black aphanite, is 10 in. long, 1¾ in. wide across the cutting-edge, and 1⅜ in. across the poll. It is 1¾ in. thick in the middle at the shoulder-line, but ⅛ in. less at the sides at the same line. This thickness decreases gradually to 1⅝ in. at the butt end. The width also decreases uniformly from the cutting-edge backward to the poll, where it is 1¼ in. The weight is 3 lb. The exposed surfaces —those not covered by the lashing when the tool was hafted—are well formed and ground, and carry a fine polish. The finish of the face and blade is perfect, but faint transverse striæ are visible on the back. The butt end for 3¾ in. has been left rough in order to facilitate lashing, or rather to give such lashing a better grip. With this end in view the operator has also reduced the longitudinal edges of the butt end, as also that portion of the face, by pecking or bruising. The face is markedly convex both ways, the back slightly concave longitudinally, and practically flat transversely. The sides are slightly convex both ways. The beautifully formed and finished blade carries an angle of nearly 50° near the cutting-edge, which drops to 30° on the upper part. The blade measures 3 in. from shoulder-line to the flawless cutting-edge. The transverse convexity of the face imparts the usual slightly curved form to the cutting-edge. The inward trend of the sides from face to back enhances the symmetrical appearance of the implement.
Another specimen is 12 in. long, but is not so thick, and weighs but 3 lb. 5 oz. It is well finished and polished, and has a cutting-edge 3¼ in. wide. The bevel on the back to form the blade is 3¾ in. long.page 247
Another specimen (see Fig. 20, Plate V) of flattened form is 11 in. long and is 3 in. wide in the middle, from which point it narrows slightly both ways to a cutting-edge of 2⅝ in. and a rounded poll 2 in. in width. The cutting-edge is almost in the middle of the tool—that is, in line with its axial centre when viewed sideways—and, as usual in such cases, no marked shoulder appears on either face or back. What appears to be the face is less convex than the supposed back, but the observer is confused by the light reduction of the butt end, on what appears to be the back. The tool may have been hafted as one of the huge chisel-like implements explained elsewhere. It is 1¼ in. thick in the middle, and decreases slightly and gradually in thickness both ways. This is a well formed and finished specimen, and illustrates the type that carries its sides comparatively parallel, and shows no marked change in thickness. Its weight is 3 lb. 6 oz. The material is dioritic sandstone or grauwacke. The blade represents an angle of about 25°, except at the extremity, where the bevels are much more abrupt.
Of the thick-bladed type so often seen, we note in Fig. 21, Plate V, one 10¼ in. long, 2¾ in. wide at the cutting-edge, and 1⅝ in. at the butt. Its thickness of 1⅜ in. at the shoulder decreases little toward the butt until near the poll. The weight is 3 lb. 4 oz. The back is straight longitudinally, and the face is of the usual convexity. The blade is thick, and seemingly would do but little cutting. The whole implement has been ground carefully, and is one of the most common forms of Maori stone adzes. The angle formed by the lower part of the back bevel with the slight one of the face side of the blade is about 60°. The material is grauwacke.
Of the medium-sized adzes it is not necessary to describe many, inasmuch as they resemble in form those of a larger size already described, and the same differences are noted among them. Of the thick type of medium-sized forms, one before us (see Fig. 22, Plate VI) is 7 in. long, 2¾ in. wide at the cutting-edge, and 1⅛ in. at the poll. It is 1¼ in. thick, and weighs 1 lb. 12 oz. There are no prominent shoulders, both face and back curving gradually, to form by their intersection the cutting-edge. The angle of the thick, strong blade is about 50°. The back, face, and both sides are convex longitudinally and, to a less extent, transversely also. The whole of the implement has been ground except the poll. The cutting-edge is somewhat curved and a little oblique. The material is a fine sandstone, almost an aphanite.
In Fig. 22a, Plate XXVII, we have a not uncommon form of stone adze. This is an extremely well-finished item, being ground to a fine smooth finish all over (including the butt end), except the poll, page 248which presents the interesting feature of having been cut by the sawing process. A shallow cut has been sawn in face and back, and the piece broken off. This item, which is in the Buller Collection, is 7 in. long, 1⅛ in. thick in the middle, and 2⅞ in. wide across the cutting-edge, decreasing to 2 in. across the poll. Weight, 1¾ lb. Angle of blade near cutting-edge, about 45°. Material, green diorite ash, very close-grained.
Another medium-sized specimen (see Fig. 23, Plate VI) is 7½ in. long, 2 in. wide across the cutting-edge, and ⅞ in. at the poll. It is a very shapely and symmetrical tool, and finely ground and polished, save at the butt end, where the face has been chipped down a little for the lashing. It is 1 in. thick, and weighs 1 lb. The face is convex, and the back concave longitudinally. One side is more convex longitudinally than the other. The shoulder is prominent, the blade long (3 in.) and forms an angle of about 30°. The stone is a fine aphanite. The upper part of the blade, on the back, is slightly concave transversely.
Of the narrower type of medium-sized adzes, one under observation (Fig. 24, Plate VI) is 7½ in. long, 1⅝ in. wide at the cutting-edge, and 1⅛ in. at the poll. It is ⅞ in. thick, and convex longitudinally on the face, but almost straight on the back. The sides are slightly convex. The whole surface, including the rounded poll, has been ground smooth, and the weight of the tool is 1 lb. The angle formed by the two faces of the blade at the cutting-edge is about 40°. It is a well-finished and sightly tool, made of fine aphanite.
There are innumerable specimens of small and diminutive adzes in the Museum, but we need only describe a few thereof in order to illustrate the types in the collection.
A specimen in hard, black, fine aphanite (Fig. 25, Plate VI) is 4½ in. long, nearly 2⅜ in. wide across a somewhat oblique cutting-edge, and 1⅜ in. at the poll. The face and sides have been worked down in order to secure a grip for the lashing, such chipping extending for 2¼ in., a little over half the length of the implement. Such tools were probably used for the surface-dressing of timber, or other light work. At the thickest part, at the shoulder-line, the adze is ⅝ in. thick, its weight being 6 oz. The angle formed by the intersection of the two bevels at the cutting-edge is about 40°, but as in most other specimens, the angle is less obtuse higher up the blade. The tool is ground smooth, except the parts worked down for the lashing.
Our next specimen is a thick form (Fig. 26, Plate XXVII), 3¼ in. long, 1⅞ in. wide at the cutting-edge, and 1⅜ in. across the flat poll. page 249The thickness is ⅞ in. in the middle, and slightly less at the shoulder and poll. The sides are straight, the face and back convex longitudinally. The angle of the blade is about 50°, the bevel on the back a short facet of ¾ in. Weight, 6 oz. A well-ground specimen. The stone is fine aphanite.
Another similar tool is 2⅝ in. long, 1⅞ in. wide at the cutting-edge, and 1⅜ in. at the butt; thickness, ⅝ in.; angle of cutting-edge, about 55°. Weight, a little over 3 oz.
We note another (Fig. 27, Plate XXVII), 3 in. long, 1⅜ in. wide across the cutting-edge, ⅞ in. across the butt end; thickness ⅜ in. to nearly ½ in. The face is somewhat convex longitudinally and transversely, the back flat and narrower than the face, the sides chipped away at the butt end, but elsewhere straight. Angle of blade near cutting-edge, about 50°. Well ground and polished, with the exception of the chipped part. Weight, 2 oz. Material, a siliceous mudstone.
Of the long and narrow type of small adze, we note, in Fig. 28, Plate XXVII, one 4¼ in. long, 1¼ in. wide at the cutting-edge, and ⅞ in. near the rounded poll. Thickness, ⅝ in. at the shoulder and ½ in. near the butt. The sides are straight and cross-section rectangular, more sharply so than in the last four specimens described. The angle of the cutting-edge is about 40°. Weight, 4 oz. This little tool has been ground all over, except the poll, but some hollows on the sides have not been ground out. Material, grey siliceous mudstone.
Of the diminutive forms, we note two specimens. One (see Fig. 29, Plate XXVII) is 2⅛ in. long, 1½ in. wide at the cutting-edge, and ⅞ in. at the poll. It is ½ in. thick at the shoulder, which is most prominent. The sides are almost straight longitudinally, but have been chipped to a rounded form for three-quarters of their length in order to accommodate the lashing. The face has the usual bevel; the back is almost flat; the facet forming the cutting-edge is abrupt and of the usual curved form, giving an angle of about 50°, which means a very thick blade. This specimen is ground smooth, except on the poll and the chipped parts of the sides. Its weight is 1⅝ oz. The stone is siliceous mudstone.
Another specimen (fig. 30, Plate XXVII) is 2⅛ in. long, 1¼ in. wide across the cutting-edge, and ¾ in. at the poll. The face is flat, save the usual long slight bevel on the blade. The back has a longitudinal ridge in the centre; the sides are thin. This little tool has obviously been formed from a triangular fragment of stone, and is probably unfinished, only the face and blade having been ground smooth. The sides have been chipped away where the lashing comes. page 250The thickest part is not more than ¼ in. Its weight is ⅝ oz. The stone is a siliceous mudstone.
Still another is 1⅝ in. long, with an adze-blade that carries a keen cutting-edge. One specimen, 1¾ in. long, is ½ in. thick, a well-ground tool, but with a thick blade. Another, 2 in. long and ¾ in. wide across the shoulder, is a thin well-finished little tool, symmetrical and smooth. By its side in the case is seen a flat, oval, water-worn stone, on one end of which a cutting-edge has been ground, a primitive form, and yet withal a neat one.
A cast of a very fine example (see Fig. 31, Plate V) of the larger type of ao maramara adze, is 11½ in. long, 3½ in. wide across the cutting-edge, from which point it narrows back evenly to the poll, where it is 2 in. wide. The sides are 1⅝ in. thick at the shoulder-line and 1½ in. to 1⅜ in. higher up. This width does not represent the greatest thickness of the tool, on account of the transverse convexity of both face and back, which throws the thickest part into the axial centres of the implement, a very common occurrence in Maori stone adzes. The face is convex both ways, and, for the length of 3 in. from the poll, both it and its edges have been lightly pecked or bruised down to a rounded form to facilitate lashing, but leaving two curious little knobs, one on each corner of the poll, which would serve to hold or contain the, lashing. The poll itself is flat. The back is straight longitudinally, and convex transversely. The same description applies to the sides. The original is evidently a well-ground tool with a smooth surface, except the roughened surface of the lashing-grip. The sides trend inward toward the back, which is ⅜ in. narrower than the face. The shoulder of the bevel is curved in toward the butt end, being almost semicircular, an effect produced by the curious and unusual transverse concavity of the upper part of the blade-bevel on the back of the adze. This concave aspect is lost within ½ in. of the cutting-edge, where it merges into the straight line of the same. The angle of inclination of the blade is about 50° on the lower part and 30° on its upper part. The longitudinal edges are clean and well defined. It is a well-formed and symmetrical implement.
A very short squat form is represented by a cast in the Museum (see Fig. 32, Plate VII). It is 3¼ in. long, 2¼ in. wide across the cutting-edge, which width it carries for half its length, from which point it decreases rapidly to the poll, where it is but 1 in. This is caused by the sides (only) having been pecked down to form a grip for the lashing, leaving a prominent shoulder on each side. We note this reduction of the sides only in a very few specimens. This tool is ⅞ in. page 251thick in the middle. The cutting-edge is straight, and the bevel is one of about 50°.
A very curious little specimen in the Auckland Museum was found at Parawai, in the Thames district (see Fig. 32a, Plate XXVII). It looks very much like an implement used by blacksmiths. It is remarkably short, and deeply grooved for lashing. The foot of the handle must have been very short, and apparently the tool could only have been used for light work. The blade is of adze-form, and the poll projects beyond the hollows formed to facilitate lashing, hence rendering such lashing the more secure. This is an aspect seldom noted in Maori stone adzes. The length of the tool is 2½, in.;, width across cutting-edge 2 3/16 in., and across the poll 1¼ in. A cast of this item is in the Museum.
Another cast in the Museum shows a small, somewhat thin-bladed, tool that has two curious knobs left on it in the chipping and grinding operations, and which take the place of a shoulder to confine the lashing (see Fig. 33, Plate VII). This item is 5¾ in. long, 2⅜ in. wide across its curved cutting-edge, and 1 in. at the poll. It is thus of a somewhat conical form. The sides are much rounded, and but little longitudinal convexity appears on face or back. A cross-section would show a somewhat flattened oval. At a distance of 2 in. from the poll appear two curious knobs, one on each side, or rather at the corners of the face, where the longitudinal edges would be had they not been ground off. The blade is thin, showing angles of from 40° to 20°.