The Stone Implements of the Maori
IV. Materials Used For The Manufacture Of Adzes and Chisels, and The Native Names Thereof
IV. Materials Used For The Manufacture Of Adzes and Chisels, and The Native Names Thereof
In obtaining material for his stone implements, the Maori was often much hampered by the restrictions of his social system—the division of the people into tribes, independent of each other, and often at war, certainly always suspicious of each other. Hence he could not range at will over distant lands in search of desirable material for his implements. Thus it often occurred that stone, more especially the greenstone or nephrite, was an article of barter between tribes. In other cases a party of natives would make an expedition on to the lands of another tribe (with or without permission), in order to obtain some desirable kind of stone that was not found in their own territory. Thus, the Tuhoe, or Ure-wera Tribe, who have in their own tribal domain no stone suitable for manufacturing into the best type of adzes, were wont to obtain such from the Wai-kato and Poverty Bay districts. In the former case it was probably obtained by barter, but in regard to the latter locality we are informed that parties of Tuhoe used to make occasional expeditions to a famous quarry on the headwaters of the Wai-paoa River, in the Poverty Bay district, where, from the living rock, they obtained pieces of stone to be worked into implements when they returned home.
Natives state that when a good quality of stone was found wherefrom to manufacture implements the situation of the deposit was kept secret as far as possible, so that other tribes, and even other divisions of the same tribe, should not become acquainted with it.
The quarries from which the Maori obtained stone for the manufacture of implements were but surface workings, and a good many of such places must be still recognizable as such, but we are lacking in illustrations of these places, which is unfortunate. A very good illustration of one of these surface workings is given in Mr. Harlan Smith's monograph on "The Archaeology of the Yakima Valley," being part i of vol. vi of the "Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History."
When studying the different forms of stone adzes or other implements it would be well for collectors to bear in mind that there was in former times a considerable interchange of stone implements, and material therefor, among the different tribes. Many implements were looted in war, many were given as presents or bartered for some desired object. This was more especially the case with the page 31prized greenstone or nephrite, but even in much more common items a certain amount of interchange existed. Thus, certain kinds of stone were much prized for use as cooking-stones in the steam-ovens (hangi, umu, hapi, &c), and such were sometimes presented to other tribes. The Ngati-Awa folk, of the lower Rangi-taiki Valley, are happy in the possession of much stone that is the best form of cooking-stone, and in former times used to make presents of collections of such stones to notable men of neighbouring tribes.
It is doubtless a fact that throughout Polynesia stone tools were a medium of barter. The natives of such isles as were lacking in stone of a suitable quality obtained stone tools, or pieces of desirable stone, from the inhabitants of other islands. Tupaea remarked that fine hatchets came from Reevavai (?) to Raiedea (?Raiatea).
Mr. R. H. Mathews, in his paper on stone implements of the aborigines of New South Wales, 1894, says that "hatchets, and the stone for making them, as well as sharpening-stones and millstones, were amongst the articles of barter at the great meetings, &c."
In a paper on "Maori Stone Implements" (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxx, p. 131), Captain Hutton says, "For adzes and mere (a short weapon) any compact, hard, and tough rock was used. The commonest were igneous rocks, such as basalt, dolerite, and aphanite; but many of the rocks are metamorphic, such as hornstone and cherty slate. Greenstone (nephrite) also comes under this head."
According to Mohi Turei, of Ngati-Porou, the kinds of stone formerly employed for stone tools were rehu (?flint), pounamu (nephrite), mataa (quartz, flint), and onewa; while fine parts of carving were finished with minute toki made of shells, such as those of the paua, kororiwha, and toitoi.
Besides the stones known as karaa, uri, and onewa, the Tuhoe Tribe are said to have used tuapaka, a light-colourered stone; kurutai, a dark-hued stone; and makahua, a brownish stone, where-from to fashion implements.
Colenso, in his essay "On the Maori Races of New Zealand" (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. i), says, "Their stone axes of various sizes, used for felling trees, shaping canoes, and many other purposes, were made of three or more different kinds of stone—the green jade, or axe stone; a close-grained dark basalt; and a hard grey stone. A piece of broken shell was commonly used for cutting, scraping, carving, &c."
Polack speaks of a Maori expatiating on the advantages derived from intercourse with Europeans, who had introduced such labour-page 32saving metal tools as the chisel, adze, axe, and tomahawk, which had superseded the ancient stone implements, subjected continually to be broken. Writing of his experience in the north during the early and middle "thirties" of the nineteenth century, Polack says, "The implements of carpentry formerly in use among the natives have become obsolete in favour of the adze, axe, tomahawk, chisel, plane-iron, and gimlet. The ancient materials for these invaluable tools were principally black and dark-grey granite, called onewa by the natives, or the pounamu, a green talc, which are both hard and tough; also small pieces of red jasper, which were chipped off small blocks, similar in size to green flints. These latter tools were principally employed in finishing their best performances, and were thrown away when blunted, from their inability to sharpen their points when become obtuse." This latter remark seems to apply to flakes of obsidian used as knives. The Maori found no difficulty in sharpening.his adzes and chisels.
Polack continues, "Chisels formed of the bones of an enemy were also used in the exercise of tattooing … Stone axes were regarded beyond all price by their owners, and they were seldom disposed of, being regarded as heirlooms from a remote ancestry that the numerous casualties of fire occurring in the villages could not consume."
The material of which stone implements were made differed to some extent among the various tribes, simply because the geology of such districts differed. The kind of material used by a tribe naturally depended on what suitable kinds of stone were available.
In speaking of stone implements found in the Patea district, the Rev. T. G. Hammond says, "The stone axes found on the coast vary from the small chisel, not larger than the thumb-nail, to a fine specimen 18 in. long, and broad and thick in proportion. Some are rude in the extreme … others have been cut by tiresome processes, fashioned and polished to absolute perfection. Some are made from stones ready to the hand, while others are fashioned from selected stones from distant quarries. There are specimens rudely chipped and possibly thrown aside…. Some are polished on one side only…. It is remarkable how little greenstone is found on the Patea and Whenua-kura part of the coast. Further north and south it is much more common."
The stone termed rehu (flint, and possibly some similar stones) was used for making adzes, according to Te Whatahoro. He also supplies the following notes: Onewa is a dark-coloured stone. Toki were also made of rangitoto, kahotea, and kawakawa. The stone here page 33termed rangitoto is of a greyish colour, but has a reddish hue here and there, hence it was compared to blood (toto). This name was not applied to scoria by the Kahungunu Tribes, their name for scoria being kaihau. It was used for cooking purposes. Te Whatahoro believes that rangitoto is termed "bloodstone" by settlers.
The kahotea and kawakawa kinds of nephrite were used for making toki. The former was most highly prized for the purpose, it being extremely hard. It has a spotted appearance, black spots like charcoal throughout its texture. The kawakawa is dark-coloured, like a karaka-leaf, and of an even shade. A person might ask, "what is the adze of such a person?" and one would reply "A rehu" or "a kahotea" or whatever the stone might be. Our informant had not heard of any adzes being made from shells in former times.
In regard to the onewa, we are informed that this is the name of the stone, and that weapons, adzes, and fibre beaters or pounders were made of such stone. Of all these items, however, the name onewa was applied to the weapon only, which was termed an onewa, or patu onewa. A fibre-beater (kuru whitau) made from such stone was called a pongipongi. An adze made of it was styled according to its use, as toki rniri, toki tamaku, &c., but it would never be termed a toki onewa, although made from that stone. This explanation is from Te Whatahoro.
Being so well supplied with suitable stone, the natives of New Zealand were not forced to make such tools as adzes out of marine shells, though such material was sometimes used for minute forms. The want of stone seems to have been the origin of these shell adzes and axes in some of the isles of the Pacific area, as also in the Bahamas, Bermudas, and the lesser Antilles.
The following extract from the "Transactions of the New Zealand Institute," vol. xxv, page 492, is of interest: "In at least four collections in Otago there are numbers of miniature axes (adzes) about 1 in. in length, made from a piece of a marine shell, ground to the shape of a stone axe (adze), and pierced at the other end for suspension, not at right angles to the part corresponding to the edge, but in the same line with it. In one instance over a hundred of these, much burnt, were found. …" Since this paper was read I am informed by Mr. Chapman that an old Maori has recently seen the "shell axes," and immediately recognized them as niho kakere, or shell teeth, and stated that they were worn as necklaces by women." In "The Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition," Wilkes speaks of obtaining some shell adzes at Wytoohee (?Waituhi), one of the Paumotu Isles: "Their adzes were rudely made, page 34 page 35 but ground very sharp; they were formed of the Tridacna or Cassis shell, lashed on a handle somewhat resembling our adze-handles."
A large specimen of the Melanesian shell adzes is in the Dominion Museum, and it is a good illustration of the ingenuity displayed by the natives of those isles in forming implements of shell when suitable stone is lacking. This adze is 14½ in. long, and weighs 5¾ lb. The native mode of working the shell is unknown to us, but the surface of the adze looks as if it had been rasped. Probably it has been rubbed or ground by using pieces of coral as rubbers. This adze is 3¼ in. wide at its widest part, and nearly 2 in. thick in the middle. The conical poll reminds the observers of West Indian forms. The cutting-edge is semicircular and the blade much hollowed transversely, like a huge gouge. Apparently this hollow is artificial. The cutting-edge has been damaged by pieces being chipped off. The material has been pierced in several places by marine animals. (Plate XLIII).page 36
Another example of the Melanesian shell adze is seen on page 35. The blade of this item is thin and much curved, the handle having been made so that the curved blade would fit on to it. The lashing is composed of a fine plaited cord, flat, and crossed in the Maori style, as seen in the method known as kauaerua. Presumably this implement is a working-tool, and not a ceremonial implement. There are, however, certain items of ornamentation thereon: the curiously peaked head carved on the back of the handle, the same being painted red and blue; the horn-like projection above the foot of the handle, and also the deeply cut rings at the butt end of the shaft. Just in front of the rings is the hand-grip. This part of the handle is rounded, but from the middle to the foot it is triangular, the edges thereof being serrated. These notches, as also those on the head, and its peculiar helmet, seem to have been painted red, white, and blue. This tool would be but a poor implement in working any ordinary wood, and may have been used on some soft substance. The handle measures 2 ft. over all.
On page 34 is shown a hafted stone adze from the Admiralty Isles.
Colonel Gudgeon states that the natives of Manahiki used to make stone axes (adzes?) out of a hard species of coral called kakarata, which is said to have been as hard as marble, and quite as effective for the purpose as any ordinary (volcanic) stone.
Cook, in his account of the natives of Queen Charlotte Sound (February, 1777), says, "Without the use of any metal tools they make everything by which they procure their subsistence … Their chief mechanical tool is formed exactly after the manner of our adzes, and is made, as are the chisel and gouge, of the green serpent stone or jasper, though sometimes they are composed of a black, smooth, and very solid stone … What must cost them more labour than any other article is the making of the tools we have mentioned, for the stone is exceedingly hard, and the only method of fashioning it we can guess at is by rubbing one stone upon another, which can have but a slow effect."
The following are the native names of various kinds of stone used in making adzes and chisels:—
- Kahotea.—A form of nephrite.
- Kawakawa.—A form of nephrite.
- Kohurau.—A yellowish stone, probably quartzite.
- Koma.page 37
- Kororariki.—A black stone.
- Kurutai.—A dark-coloured stone.
- Makahua.—A brownish stone.
- Manutea.—A light-coloured stone.
- Mataa.—Flint or chert.
- Mataa paia.
- Onewa.—A dark-grey stone.
- Pakohe.—A dark-coloured stone.
- Rangitoto.—Greyish stone, with reddish marks.
- Tuapaka.—A light-coloured stone.
- Uri.—A dark-coloured stone.
- Waiapu, or mataa waiapu.
Mr. Percy Smith states that manutea is a very light grey-coloured stone, close-grained like limestone or marble, used in making toki. Specimen from Pelorus district.
A Tuhoean correspondent states that waiapu was used as a material for adze-making.
Koma is apparently not known as a stone-name in the Wai-rarapa district, but is there applied to a toki that does not make a clean cut, on account of the thickness of the blade, not on account of bluntness of the edge caused by use. To use such a tool would mean that the timber-surface would not be left clean and smooth. Hence one might hear an elder say, "E tama. Whakarerea atu to toki na, he koma."
The kohurau is a stone of a yellowish or cream colour found at Turaki-rae. It was not used for making proper adzes for use by workmen, but adzes for children and young people were made from it, by the use of which they might learn to use such tools. After they had learned the usage of such tools they would be allowed to use good effective adzes.
In regard to the stone termed kohurau by the Wai-rarapa natives, it is probable that this material is a form of quartzite. We have seen a small adze in the collection of Mr Beckett, of Wellington, that answers to the description of kohurau given by Te Whatahoro. It is the same "creamy" colour as mentioned by him. This implement was found at Miramar, Wellington. It is a form of quartzite, with a few feldspar inclusions, and shows many fault-lines. The cutting-edge is badly chipped, though the angle thereof is a high one, and the bevel extremely short, only 1 in. This is probably the stone formerly obtained by the natives at Turaki-rae.page 38
Hua-kuru.—A stone resembling granite in appearance. It was used wherefrom to fashion adzes for heavy roughing-out work, after which an onewa adze would be used, and then a thin nephrite adze to finish off the hewn surface.
Karaa is a light-coloured stone, as known to the natives of the Wai-rarapa district. Te Whatahoro describes it as a flint-like stone, only found in pieces on the sea-beach, and of rare occurrence. Adzes were made from it. Another name for this stone is rehu tai, an expression also applied to sea-foam. It has never been found in situ in the district. Among other tribes the name karaa is applied to a dark-coloured stone.
We are told by Te Whatahoro that the paretao is a very hard stone of a reddish colour, of which in former times heitiki pendants were sometimes made, but which are now no longer seen. They were not so highly prized as the nephrite specimens.
Among the Hawaiians adzes were made from a stone called uliuli, but the best are said to have been made from ala, a hard dense basalt. In these names we recognize the uri and karaa of the New Zealand natives. The following are the native names of the varieties of nephrite and bowenite:—
|Aotea; syn., hina-aotea.||Kawakawa-aumoana.|
|Auhunga; syn., hauhunga. Cf. hina-ahuka.||Kawakawa-rewa. Cf. tongarewa.|
|Hauhunga; syn., auhunga.||Kawakawa-whatuma.|
|Inanga.||Koko-tangiwai; syn., tangiwai, maka-tangiwai|
|Inanga-kore.||Maka-tangiwai; syn., tangiwai, koko-tangiwai|
|Kahurangi; syn., hina-ahuka.||Tangiwai; syn., hina-tangiwai, koko-tangiwai, &c.|
|Kahautea. Cf. kahotea.|
|Kahotea.||Tongarewa; syn., Tongarerewa.|
|Kapotea. Probably in error for Kahotea.||Toto-weka, or totoeka.|
|Kawakawa; syn., hina-kawakawa.||Tutae-koka.|
The above list of names applied by the natives to nephrite and bowenite are copied principally from Mr. Chapman's work. They have been obtained from divers persons; hence there is a little confusion, apparently.page 39
The Rev. R. Taylor, a not very reliable authority, also gives the following names pertaining to greenstone:— Hohapa.—Greenstone. (Whether he means nephrite, or some other green-coloured stone is not clear.)
Kawakawa-tongarerewa.—Greenstone. Very fine.
Kawakawa-turnu.—Bad kind of greenstone.
Kuru tongarerewa.—Greenstone. (This term kuru is applied to a pendant, not to any particular kind of nephrite.)
Parataua.—Greenstone. A bad kind. (Apparently an inferior kind ofnephrite is implied by the term "bad.")
Aotea.—"A counterfeit greenstone, opaque; often mistaken when in the river-beds by the unskilful." (Rev. J. Stack). Hina-aotea is the name given to the stone which is valueless (F. Martin, "Journal Polynesian Society," vol. x, page 167). In Mr. Martin's paper this name is spelled correctly on page 166, but incorrectly on page 167. Mr. James Cowan informs us that the Ngati-Mahaki Maoris, of the Jacob's River district, apply the name aotea to malachite, which is found in the Makawhio Creek, south of Bruce Bay, about two hundred miles south of Hokitika. These natives are still stone-workers to a limited extent, and fashion pendants of the above material. Toki were made of this stone in former times.
Auhunga (syn., hauhunga).—Name supplied by the Rev. J. W. Stack. Of it he says, "Pale green, between inanga and kawakawa. Not so transparent as the latter." Of an adze 5 lb. in weight made of this stone, Mr. Chapman says, "This is a stone largely used by Maoris, and somewhat difficult systematically to distinguish from kawakawa and inanga. It is, however, in colour most like kawakawa, but in opacity it falls into inanga." Of another specimen he says, "A slightly decreased opacity makes this approach kawakawa" These remarks give some idea of how the natives classified the different specimens of nephrite.
Hauhunga.—See supra, auhunga.
Inanga.—Of this variety the Rev. J. Stack says, "A whitish stone, not much prized, rather opaque." Anent which Mr. Chapman remarks "I cannot quite assent to the expression 'not much prized,' as I have been informed by many good authorities that it comes next to kahurangi, which is the rarest stone." Dr. Shortland describes this variety in one word, "whitish." Major Heaphy says of it, "This is the most valued by the Maoris. It is rather opaque in appearance, and is traversed with creamy-coloured veins. The best mere (a short hand-weapon) are usually made of this stone." Mr. Chapman speaks of green spots, streaks, and patches as being sometimes seen in this page 40kind. A note of Mr. Hamilton's says, "Inanga, light-coloured, but with dark markings like those on an inanga—a small fresh-water fish (Galaxias attenuatus)."
Inanga-karetu.—Resembles in colour the karetu grass (Hierochloe redolens) in colour.
Inanga-kore.—Name taken from a German publication.
Inanga-rewa.—Name taken from a German publication.
Inanga-tuhi.—Name taken from a German publication.
Inanga-tangiwai.—Said by Mr. John White to resemble, or to be the same as, toto-weka (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxiv, p. 512).
Inanga-waipuke.—Cloudy, like a muddy stream, hence apparently the name, the term waipuke being applied to flood-waters.
Kahurangi.—The Rev. J. Stack says, "A darker green than auhunga without flaws or spots, semi-transparent." Of another specimen given the same name, he says, "As kahurangi is repeated, I presume that the former is a hard clear stone, and the latter similar, but with beautiful fleecy clouds in it of the whitish tint of inanga" Dr. Shortland says, "Bright-green, translucent, the most prized; used for ear-drops and other valued objects." Major Heaphy says, "Of a bright-green colour, with darker shades or mottled, and is the most translucent. It is a brittle material, and not easily worked. Ear-pen-dants are frequently made of it." Williams's Maori Dictionary also gives kahurangi as the name of "a light-coloured variety of siliceous stone."
Ahuka (?ahunga), or hina-ahuka, is a South Island name for the kahurangi (see "Journal of the Polynesian Society," vol. x, page 166). This is Hina-ahuka, the personified form of the variety.
Kahautea.—Has light-coloured veins, iridescent, like the wings of a fly. Possibly this should be kahotea.
Kahotea.—The Rev. J. Stack says, "A dark-green, with spots of black through it, rather more opaque than the other varieties." Cf. Tuapaka.
Kapotea.—Mr. Chapman mentions this name twice in his description of objects fashioned from nephrite, but the name does not appear elsewhere in his paper. It is probably a misprint for kahotea. Of one such object he says, "A singular piece, more like serpentine than greenstone, and probably a different rock … perhaps the spurious greenstone known as kapotea … mottled. Various tints."
Kawakawa.—The Rev. J. Stack says, "A very bright-green, semitransparent." Dr. Shortland says, "Bay-green. From resemblance to the leaves of a shrub of the same name (Piper excelsum)." Major Heaphy says, "This is of a dark-olive green, and has rather a dull and opaque appearance. Heitiki and ear-pendants are composed of page 41it." Another authority says, "Dark-green." Mr. Chapman says, "This is the beautiful greenstone of commerce, much used by lapidaries." In speaking of an object made of this variety he says, "Transparent in varying degrees in different parts. Classed as above, but it nearly approaches kahurangi. The range of colours and varying tints greatly enhance its beauty." This is the hina-kawakawa of the Tama-ahua myth.
Kawakawa-aumoana.—Mr. Chapman says, "A variety or sub-variety, perhaps a local term."
Kawakawa-rewa.—Mr. Chapman says, "Explained to me by a chief as like whale's blubber. A variety or subvariety. Perhaps a local term."
Kawakawa-tongarewa.—Given by Mr. Chapman as a variety or subvariety, possibly a local term. Cf. Tongarerewa. He also gives kuru-tongarewa and kuru-pounamu as varieties or subvarieties of nephrite, but these terms are usually applied by natives to ear-pendants of that stone. They do not appear to be names of the stone itself.
Kawakawa-tangiwai.—Dr. Shortland says, "Resembles the colour of greenish glass." Mr. Chapman states, "This name is probably a mistake for koko-tangiwai."
Kawakawa-whatuma.—Name obtained from a German publication.
Koko-tangiwai (syn., tangiwai and rnaka-tangiwai).—The Rev. Stack says, "A soft and brittle variety found at Piopio-tahi, or Milford Sound, and in small pieces along the beaches to the north-ward of that place. Beautifully clear and transparent, with the appearance of water-drops in the texture of the stone. Hardens on exposure to the air. When first taken from the block it can be worked with an ordinary knife and file." This is bowenite, not nephrite. (See also under Tangiwai.)
Maka-tangiwai.—See under Koko-tangiwai.
Mata-kirikiri.—Greenstone pebbles. Not the name of a variety.
Pipiwharauroa.—Dr. Shortland says, "White and green, so named from a bird (the shining cuckoo), resembling its plumage."
Rau-karaka.—Mr. Chapman says, "A term much used about Cook Strait to describe the olive-coloured streaked variety of kawakawa. Apparently likened in colour to the leaf of the karaka tree (Corynocarpus laerigatus). The Tuhoe people term one kind of nephrite karaka. It is apparently the rau-karaka of other tribes. Old Atama te Kikiwa (Kutu) of Rua-tahuna, who is now (1910) living, is the last of the old heitiki-makevs of the Tuhoe Tribe. Te Whenuanui (the first), of that tribe, was also famed for his skill as a tiki-maker.page 42
Tangiwai.—Bowenite. Dark and clear, like bottle-glass. Evidently the same as koko-tangiwai and maka-tangiwai. Of the latter, Major Heaphy says, "This is the least esteemed by the Maoris, but by far the most beautiful of all. It is a clear pale-green, and is very trans-lucent. The natives will drill a hole through a peddle of it, and hang it to a child's ear, but do not care to fashion it into any shape. (See Koko-tangiwai.) We have seen that Hina-tangiwai was a personified form of this stone, bowenite. Concerning it, Mr. Martin says, "Hina-tangiwai is the name of the stone found at Milford Sound, and on looking through it marks can be seen like tears, for it was there that Tama-ahua wept." Mr. Chapman mentions an ear-pendant of blue tangiwai (bowenite). It is in the Buller Collection. The Otago Witness of the 7th June, 1911, remarks, "The operations of the Tangiwai (greenstone) Company at Milford Sound, which are being carried on by an Auckland company, are reported to be proving very successful. The quantity of greenstone obtained is exceeding expectations, and sufficient has been obtained to keep the manufacturing work going during the winter."
Tongarewa; tongarerewa.—Said to be very clear green, like glass.
Toto-weka.—John White says, "A yellowish-coloured nephrite. This, or something like it, is called inanga-tangiwai. Mr. Chapman says, "The rusty, yellow-coloured nephrite … is extremely rare." Totoeka is given as a streaked variety of nephrite in Williams's Maori Dictionary.
Tuapaka.—Dr. Shortland says, "Inferior stone; green and black intermixed." Mr. Chapman says, "It seems to have been used up for chisels and small tools. See Mr. Stack's answer, Kahotea"."
Tutae-koka.—This is not the name of a variety of nephrite, but merely of dark marks seen in some specimens. In the myth of Tama-ahua it is said to have been caused or to be the residue or excrement of the kokako (a bird, the crow), cooked by the slave of Tama at Arahura (Arahura was an ancient name of the Island of Aitutaki, of the Cook Group). Mr. Chapman speaks of a cream-coloured stone with patches, streaks, and spots of inanga green sparsely dotted over it, of which but three pieces were seen."
Kurutai is said to be the name of a variety of nephrite between kawakawa and kahotea in appearance, approaching a slate-colour. Adzes were sometimes made of it. Other authorities seem to describe it as some other kind of stone than nephrite.