The Stone Implements of the Maori
VI. Grinding-Stones (Hoanga)
VI. Grinding-Stones (Hoanga)
In the manufacture of his stone implements and ornaments the Maori was forced to rely to a great extent upon grinding. Having chipped and bruised his implement into the desired form, he had then to smooth the surface by means of rubbing it on a piece of sandstone, a very tedious process. The Maori had no knowledge of a rotatory stone for this purpose, but used in most cases a stationary grinding-stone, a slab of sandstone of coarse or fine grain, upon which he rubbed, usually in a longitudinal manner, the implements he desired to render smooth or to sharpen.
In some of the more remote native hamlets the old-time grinding-stone, termed hoanga, is still in use for the purpose of sharpening steel axes. When grinding an axe in this manner a native does so in just the same way that his ancestors did when sharpening a stone adze. He takes his slab of sandstone to the nearest stream or pool, and places it therein in a slanting position, the lower end being under water. He "squats" down at the upper end, and rubs his implement up and down on the stone in a longitudinal manner, each downward movement taking the edge and part of the blade well under water. This assists the grinding process, and saves the operator the trouble of obtaining water and frequently pouring it on the surface of his grinding-stone. Such portable slabs of sandstone were of various shapes, some nearly circular, and measured across from about 10 in. upward. Their thickness differed, but seem usually to have been about 3 in. We have seen thinner and thicker ones; also much smaller ones, on which small items were ground, such as ear-pendants. (See Plate XLIX.)
The act of grinding by means of this rubbing process is described by the Maori by the terms oro, orooro, and kauoro ("to grind by rubbing on stone"). Another old expression is kanioro, which describes the process by means of which a piece of stone was sawn or rubbed in two in former times. The word kanioro, in fact, seems to mean literally "to grind by rubbing to and fro." The word kani bears the meaning of a to-and-fro motion, and has been applied to our metal saws and our movements in dancing. Early in the nineteenth century a European file was termed a kani by the northern Maoris. It would be so named on account of the manner in which it was used. This word, as a name for a steel file, seems to have fallen into disuse, and is now applied to a saw. The word oro seems to bear much the same meaning ("to rub, to grate, to make smooth or sharp by rubbing," &c.) all over Polynesia.page 100
As to the term hoanga, applied by the Maori to grinding-stones, we do not seem to have on record the original root of this word, but such is probably seen in the name of a stream (Hoho-pounamu) mentioned in Mr. Chapman's paper on nephrite (see page 71). It is quite possible that this unrecorded word may be allied to the Mangareva term hoho ("to polish"). The Samoans, Hawaiians, and Tongans employ forms of the word hoanga to denote a grinding-stone, as also do the natives of Mangareva.
The stone adzes of the Maori, we are informed, were always ground and sharpened in the above-described manner. No whetstone or sandstone rubber was used to rub on the implement. The smaller sandstone grinding or rubbing stones sometimes found may have been used to grind smaller implements or ornaments on. They may have been held in one hand when used, or steadied with the foot. Rubbing-stones and stone rasps were used in dressing wood-work as in smoothing spear-shafts, &c., and in fashioning fish-hooks, as they were in Tahiti; and small whetstones and grinding-stones were used to rub on the item being worked, as is explained elsewhere. But the genius or hereditary instincts of the Maori ever prompt him to rub implements on the grinding-stone, and not vice versa. Of that we are quite certain, the belief being based on long observation and inquiry. Such a small hoanga found at Rua-tahuna was almost semi-lunar in shape, and seems to have been held in the hand when used. The straight face was grooved through the rubbing thereon of some small implement or ornament.
Among the Tuhoe or Ure-wera Tribe two different kinds of sandstone were used for grinding, sharpening, or smoothing purposes. One, termed tunaeke, is a somewhat coarse-grained, greenish-coloured stone of excellent even grit. This stone is found at only one place in the Tuhoe or Ure-wera district—viz., at Tau-whare-pouri, a small stream on the left bank of the Whakatane River, opposite Kaka-nui, Rua-tahuna district. A specimen piece long in use was sent to the Auckland Museum. The other variety, known as totara, is a fire stone of a reddish or brownish colour.
Of the tunaeke stone, the Rev. T. G. Hammond, of Patea, says, "It is a stone of greenish colour, not often found, and only in small slabs, indicating having been brought from a distance. It was common stone for cutting slabs of greenstone (nephrite), or the ordinary black stone used for axes."
Te Whatahoro states that his people (Wai-rarapa district) used two kinds of grinding-stone—one, termed hoanga matanui, is a coarse-grit stone; another, known as hoanga matarehu, is of a fine grit.page 101
Another note reads as follows: Three kinds of stone were used as grinding-stones in the Wai-rarapa district. These were-(1) Huripapa, a very coarse-grit stone that cut rapidly the stone rubbed upon it; (2) [wording omitted in original printing]; (3) matawai, a soft, fine stone used in the finishing process of grinding. Hoanga were procured at Oruhi, at Whareama, by the Wairarapa natives.
The above are specific terms for the above stones, while matanui and matarehu are descriptive terms for coarse and fine grit.
A later note from Te Whatahoro is as follows: At least two kinds of grinding-stones were used in fashioning stone adzes—the one a coarse-grained quick-cutting stone; the other a finer-grained kind, such as that known as matawai. In working nephrite a coarse-grit stone termed matanui (hoanga matanui) was used for the process of roughly shaping the implement, after which the fine-grained matarehu (hoanga matarehu) came into use to finish the work. These grinding-stones in some cases had special names assigned to them. Thus, Te Umurangi was the name of a hoanga that belonged to Huka, a chief of Ngati-Ira who lived at Porirua. This was the stone on which was fashioned the famed mere (weapon) known as Pahika-uri, in the possession of the Heuheu family, of Taupo. This weapon was obtained by the Kahungunu Tribe (he kai taongd). When the Taupo folk raided Heretaunga they captured the owner or bearer of this weapon in an engagement at Te Ara-tipi, on the track to Waimarama, and so obtained possession of it. A famous adze, named Kaukaumatua, the property of Huka, was also fashioned on the above stone.
Mr. C. C. Abbott, in his work on "Primitive Industry," seems to believe that the Indians of the eastern United States did not rub celts on the stone to smooth or sharpen them, but rubbed the stone on the implement. We submit that where no rotatory form of grindstone is used, and the part to be ground is an outer surface, the most effective and satisfactory method is that in which the implement is rubbed on the stationary stone, save in cases where such implement is of an awkward size, weight, or shape.
In speaking of the native method of working greenstone, Mr John White (as quoted by Mr. Chapman) says (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxiv, p. 511), "It was then rubbed into shape with a stone called mataikona, takiri-tane, hoanga, one-tai, pahu-tane, and ure-onetea." Of these terms, the third is the generic name applied to any stone used as a grinding or rubbing stone, while the others are apparently specific names of certain kinds of stone, albeit, as Mr. White hints, more than one of such names may belong to page 102one kind of stone. Such names differ in different districts. He also states that some of the above kinds of stone were used for drills, and others as saws or rubbers, in dividing a piece of greenstone.
In his journal of a most trying expedition of exploration to the west coast of the South Island, Brunner, in speaking of the Grey River, says, "In this river is found the stone used by the natives for rubbing down their pounamu, in quality resembling a Newcastle stone, though somewhat closer in the grain, and has a fine-cutting quality."
Polack makes a curious remark on the subject of grinding nephrite implements, "Much patience was required to put an edge on the mere, which was often managed by pounding the talc to powder, or some comminutable substance, and briskly rubbing the surfaces against each other." This statement is not remarkable for clearness. The Maori knew and utilized the cutting-powers of gritty sandstones, &c., and had no need to essay the tedious task of pounding nephrite to powder in order to obtain a cutting or grinding agent.
Any stream or other water to which natives resorted in order to grind stone implements was termed a wai haonga or wai orooro, and these expressions in many cases have been adopted as proper place-names. In some cases there happens to be a bed or mass of rock, or large boulder, of good grit sandstone or other suitable stone situated in a convenient spot, and to such places the natives took their implements in order to grind them. Occassionally such places seem to have been within easy distance of the outcrop of rock from which stone was obtained for the manufacture of implements, inasmuch as quite extensive workshops have been seen at such places whereat implements were flaked or chipped into form prior to being ground.
At the Mimiha Stream, near Matata, is a huge block of rock formerly used as a hoanga, and in which are seen the grooves wherein the men of yore rubbed their stone adzes. It is now covered with sand or debris, but was examined some thirty-four years ago by Mr. W. Best, of Otaki, who gives the following description of it: "The Mimiha Stream runs along the base of the high cliff for a short distance ere flowing into the sea. The rock I saw appears to have fallen from the cliff, at some time long past, into the stream. It is a kind of sandstone, and is about 20 ft. long and 10 ft. wide, fairly flat on the top, and stands 6 ft. or 7 ft. out of the water. There are several grooves on its upper surface. The largest groove, if my memory serves me, is 3 ft. or more in length, and 10 in. or 12 in. deep in the centre, running out to nothing at both ends. page 103I think the width of this groove was about 12 in. at the top, and 4 in. or 5 in. at the bottom. The second groove is of a similar form, but much smaller; and there were other places on the rock where grinding or rubbing had been done, leaving grooves of various depths, from a few inches to a mere mark on the surface. The natives evidently carried some of their smaller grinding-stones about with them. I saw one that was turned up by the plough at Te Rahui, near Otaki. It was a flat piece of sandstone about 1 ft. across and 3 in. or 4 in. thick, with several grooves in it. It was well worth preserving, but some Goth amused himself by smashing it up."
In one of his papers on "The Maori: As He Was, and As He Is," Captain C. A. Young mentions an old Maori stone-implement working-place at Kapowairua, in the far north: "Here, still waiting the museum-collector's visit, are large stones, into which deep grooves have been cut in shaping and sharpening greenstone ornaments, stone adzes, and so on. Indeed, were the whole tumulus excavated, no doubt great antiquarian treasures would be the reward."
Captain Hutton mentions quartzite as having been used by the Maori as a grinding-stone. He also speaks of stones that, apparently, he believes were used as whetstones (see Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xxx, p. 132): "Sharpening-stones were long, narrow, and either rectangular or oval in section. They were no doubt used for sharpening axes and chisels." We have never been able to get any old native to agree that whetstones were used to sharpen stone adzes or chisels—i.e., that any sharpening or grinding stone was rubbed on the tool. The stones above mentioned were possibly rubbing-stones used in dressing wooden items, such as handles, spears, &c., or in fashioning ornaments, fish-hooks, &c.
The natives made use of certain charms (karakia) when grinding their adzes, in order to render the tools sharp and enable good work to be done with them; also, presumably, to expedite the work.
These hoanga, or grinding-stones, are sometimes found on the sites of old native settlements, and about the old forts, of which there exist the remains of a very large number.
Of the grinding-stones of the Chatham Isles we read (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xviii, p. 25): "These were made of coarse sandstone, generally found on the sea-coast at various places. They had generally a flat surface, were otherwise somewhat round, and varied in size from 7 in. to 12 in. on the average. Numbers of these hoanga are to be seen at the islands, easily recognizable by the hollow in the centre, shaped like a saucer, a sign of their frequent use."page 104
Slabs or flat pieces of stone, with the upper surface flat or some-what hollowed, were used by the Maoris whereon to grind or pul-verize the red ochre, so much appreciated by them, with a stone rubber or pounder. Archdeacon Walsh says, "The grinding-slab was usually a flat piece of hard coarse-grained sandstone about 2 ft. long by 12 in. to 15 in. wide, the same kind as that used for sharpening the stone implements." It is thus clear that some of the flat or slightly hollowed pieces of sandstone found on the sites of old native settlements, and usually termed "grinding-stones" by us, may have been used for pounding ochre or other items on. The absence of grooves on the surface of such a stone makes it doubtful if it was used as a grinding-stone.
Stones, hewn or chipped into a circular form, flat on the top, were used among the Ngati-Raukawa Tribe whereon to beat flaxfibre with a stone beater. One such seen by Mrs. T. Bevan, sen., of Manakau, in her youth, was round, and had its edge ornamented by being carved or graved in various designs. Some stone fibre-beaters were also carved or ornamented by a similar process on the reke, or butt end. The above stone and some other items were concealed in a water-hole near Otaki many years ago at the death of the owner, he having no near relatives alive to leave them to.
Hence it is evident that it would be an error to assume that all flat-topped pieces of sandstone of such form were used as grinding-stones. It is probable that only those showing grooves or other marks of rubbing were so used.
In regard to the grinding of the bevelled faces of these stone adzes, in order to form or resharpen the cutting-edge, it is obvious that any carelessness or indolence on the part of the operator would be likely to lead to the same result as it often does with us when grinding steel tools—viz., an ill-ground edge with too short a bevel, and hence too great protrusion of the uma (breast) or "shoulder."
Mr. R. H. Mathews, in a paper on "Some Stone Implements used by the Aborigines of New South Wales," published in the "Journal of the Royal Society of New South Wales," 1894, vol. xxviii, page 302, says, "The (stone) hatchets or tomahawks were ground and sharpened on sandstone rocks, in places near water to facilitate the grinding; and the groovings in the rock-surface made by rubbing the hatchets upon them can be seen in numerous localities in different parts of the country. The grooves are from ½in. to lin. deep, 3in. or 4in. wide, and of variable length, none of them very long." He also mentions that the blacks carried with them small pieces of sandstone to use as whetstones. These sharpening-stones are grooved on page 105one side, or both, by repeated use, in the same manner as the larger rocks. This latter remark shows that such pieces of stone were not used as we use a whetstone, but that the tool was rubbed on them, as our Maori folk used such items.
We have seen that a certain amount of tapu may pertain to stone implements, even to the adzes used for hewing timbers. When about to engage in such a task as felling a tree in order to make a canoe, or to obtain timber for a new house, the best and most famed adzes were used, and certain charms were recited over them while they were being ground or sharpened. In such ritual we meet with many references to one Hine-tua-hoanga, or Hine-tu-a-hoanga, the grind-stone-backed dame (or who stands as a grinding-stone), who seems to be a kind of tutelary deity of stone-grinders, or a personification of the art of stone-grinding. Hence she is appealed to in such ritual, and in old-time myths and traditions persons are said to have rubbed their stone implements on her back in order to sharpen them, but ever the act was accompanied with the reciting of the proper charm or invocation. A reference is made to this mystical personage in an interesting song published in the "Transactions of the New Zealand Institute," vol. xl, page 244. The following is the song referred to, which is said to have been sung during the process of grinding stone tools:—
Kaore ra, e hine,
He putanga ki te tonga
Nou anake ra te putanga
Nana i kimi ko Poutini, ko Wharaua
Ko te wai ra i tere ai te toki
Ka kitea i reira, e tuhi ana, e rapa ana
I raro i te whatu kura o Tangaroa
Ko whatu uira ra tena
Ko whatu rarama ra tena
Ka hewa e Rua tumata kurukuru
Homai, whakapiritia ki a Hine-tua-hoanga
Hai oro i te toki
He pua totara kauorohia
He pua totara kauorohia
Kauorohia te ati tipua
Kauorohia te ati tawhito
Hai whakakoi ra, e hine
I te mata o te toki
Hai tuatua i te wao a Tane
I te maramara o Tukehu
I te tama iara na Mumuhanga
Hai ara mo taua, kia whiti ai taua
Ki rawahi o te awa, E hine.
It has been explained to us by Te Whatahoro, a remarkably learned member of the native race, that the karakia or charms recited while an axe was being ground were not recited in connection with common adzes used for common purposes, but only over those that were used for important purposes, and such tools as were highly prized for one or more reasons. Some such implements page 106were very old ones, and all such had special names assigned to them. These charms were looked upon as being very tapu.
He also remarked that when a heitiki, or ear-pendant, was being ground into form a totally different charm was repeated, on account of the article so fashioned being designed for a totally different purpose.
The Takitumu house of learning of the east-coast tribes has preserved some curious myths concerning the origin of stones and of Hine-tu-a-hoanga:—
Other offspring of Takoto-wai produced divers kinds of stone, all of which seem to have proper names, and to be personified. Rakahore is looked upon as the origin and personified form of ordinary stones. One of these Takitimu wise men give Hine-tu-a-hoanga as the mother of Rata, whose tree-felling exploits seem to be well known throughout Polynesia.
An old Maori tradition or myth has it that Hine-tu-a-hoanga expelled one Ngahue and also the pounamu, nephrite or greenstone, from Hawaiki, the traditional fatherland of the race. On arriving at Tuhua Isle, in the Bay of Plenty, the greenstone found that isle already occupied by obsidian or flint, hence it fled to the east coast, where it was alarmed to find and hear one Kanioro-e kanioro ana. So the greenstone fled onward to the South Island, where it found a haven on the west coast, where it has since been procured by the natives. The word kanioro is used to describe the cutting of stone by means of a sawing thereof with a flattened piece of sandstone, &c. Kanioro is said to have been the name of a woman, whose other name was Tangi-kura-i-te-rangi, and who was a guardian or custodian of the greenstone. It is a long story and a very curious myth, apparently not now understood.
In a version of the story of Rata, he who essayed to fell a tree without first placating Tane and the forest elves, that hero is told to apply his dull-edged axe to the backbone of his ancestress, Hine-tu-a-hoanga. He does so, and the voice of the hoanga (grinding-stone) repeated these words: "Kia koi, kia koi, kia koi" (Be sharp, be sharp, be sharpened), and, behold, it became keen-edged.page 107
Rata taught the art of grinding stone axes; hence, perhaps, rata—sharp.
White says the Maori, in felling a tree, cut it in the style termed poike—i.e., like a peg-top.
It is explained elsewhere that a block of unworked nephrite represented the mana of certain lands near Auckland. In like manner a prized adze may represent the mana of lands, and such implements have been handed over to purchases of native land for that reason. It is also presumable that such an implement as Te Awhio-rangi possesses certain mana of its own, to judge from the effect produced by a person looking at it, which act is said to have caused a severe thunderstorm.
These stone adzes were always taken off their handles when about to be so sharpened, because the handle interfered with manipulating the implement when rubbing it on the stone hoanga.
In one of his Rotorua sketches, Mr Cowan mentions a famed hoanga, or grinding-stone, known by the appropriate name of Hine-tu-a-hoanga, that lies at Wai-teti, Rotorua. This stone is situated at a creek known as Wai-oro-toki (adze-grinding stream), another appropriate name. This writer says, "The old man pointed out the historic stone, one of the most venerated relics of ancient Maoridom in the lakeland district. I examined it. It was a flat block of grey stone, apparently a kind of local sandstone, about 3 ft. in diameter, lying on the creek-edge, half in and half out of the water. In its smoothly polished upper surface were three deep grooves, worn by generation after generation of men in their work of orooro toki, or axe-rubbing. It was a whetstone, used by the natives of the Stone Age for the shaping, polishing, and sharpening of their axes, adzes, and chisels. Such whetstones, or hoanga, were in universal use, but this one is regarded by the Maoris as exceptional, because of its antiquity, and because many generations of high chiefs and priests had used it."
This stone, as explained by natives to Mr. Cowan, is said to have belonged to Ihenga, of the Arawa migrants, and was brought from the isles of Polynesia in the canoe of that name. On a remark being made anent its size and weight, it was explained by the old myth-purveyors that it had originally been a light stone, but that through long lying at rest, and its tapu, it had become heavy, which explanation is satisfactory enough for our purpose. The mana of this stone seems to be derived from its name, which is explained above.
In a paper on stone implements from the Chatham Isles, published in vol. i of the "Journal of the Polynesian Society," is a page 108description of a hoanga, or grinding-stone, of that group. It is spoken of as being "oval in shape, about 12 in. long, 8 in. wide, and 4 in. deep, formed of a coarse yellow sandstone, with a hollow oval groove in its upper surface, in which the implements were ground down with the aid of water." A specimen of the karakia, the grinding song or charm, employed by the Moriori is also given. It differs in form from that formerly used by the Tuhoe Tribe, which commences thus, "Toki uri, toki uri, toki arnoarno" The charm repeated by the Moriori, of Chatham Islands, when grinding a stone adze, is as follows:—
Matu aha, matu ka kini pokai
Matu aha, hoki matu
Matu aha, matu amoi
Matu aha, matu ki hau
Matu aha, matu ki koti
Matu aha, matu moto rere
Matu aha, matu takoto
Matu aha, matu ka ta
Matu aha, matu ka ngawha
Matu aha, matu ka parangi
Matu aha, matu tihore katoa
Oroia oro toki
Oro toitoi wa kai
E, e ra koe
Kaua i ro ra koe Hine
Ko Hine tu wai wanga
Oroia, oro toki
Oro toitoi wa kai e e ra koe
Kaua i ro ra koe
Kaua i ro ra koe.
In this effusion we note that Hine tu (or tchu) wai wanga is the Moriori form of Hine-tu-a-hoanga of Maori myth.
Shortland, in his work on the "Southern Districts of New Zealand," remarks, "In search of this stone (greenstone), the natives of other places have been in the habit of making long voyages and journeys across the mountains from the east to the west coast. When procured it is fashioned and polished by rubbing it on flat blocks of sandstone. This is a work of so much labour that to finish such a weapon as that above described (the famous mere of the Heu-heu family) often requires two generations. Another cause of its value is that the extreme toughness of the stone enables it to bear a fine edge; so that before the New-Zealanders knew the value of iron they had a useful substitute for it, from which they made hatchets (?) and chisels." Shortland also gives taranui as the name given by Ngai-Tahu of the South Island to a sandstone used "for rubbing down and polishing the pounamu (greenstone)."
The Rev. R. Taylor gives the following names, &c., in his "Maori and English Dictionary": Onetai—sandstone, or whetstone; pahu-tane—flint from the west coast, Middle Island, used for boring the greenstone (Pahu-tane seems to be the name of a place on the west coast where certain stone for working nephrite was obtained); taranui and maitai—sandstone for grinding greenstone on.page 109
Wai para hoanga (grinding-stone refuse water) is a native term for the water discoloured by use of a hoanga, or grinding-stone, when an implement is rubbed on it. This expression is often applied by natives to the waters of any stream or river when discoloured by flood-waters. It is sometimes met with in song.
The term "grindstone" or "grinding-stone," as applied to the hoanga used by the Maori, has been objected to by some writers, apparently on account of its being stationary when in use. Some apply the term "rubbing-stone" to it. The former term, however, seems to be not inapplicable, inasmuch as the New Oxford Dictionary gives as meanings of the word "grind," to "wear down by friction so as to make sharp or smooth," also "to smooth the surface (of anything) by friction," and "to sharpen the edge or point of a tool." It is not necessary that the grinding-stone should be in motion, rotatory or otherwise, when in use.
The process of grinding a stone implement was so laborious and lengthy a one that it was deemed a serious misfortune to break or gap the edge of an adze. The expression he potiki whatiwhati toki (an adze-breaking child) is applied to the youngest child of a family, as betokening mischievousness. On the other hand, Colenso has recorded another saying: "Waiho kia oroia, he whati toki nui" (Let it be sharpened, it is (but) a big adze chipped), used in the sense of "Although a misfortune, yet it can be remedied."
In his work on 'Prehistoric Art," Mr. T. Wilson says, speaking of the grinding-stones of Neolithic races, "The chipped stone implement is laid upon the grinding-stone and rubbed back and forth until ground smooth." This exactly describes the Maori method, a mode that may still be seen employed among the Tuhoe Tribe, albeit the tool so rubbed is now a steel axe.
It seems that coarse-grit sandstones at least furnished sufficient grit by means of rubbing the tool thereon, and that it was not necessary to add other loose or foreign grit thereto. Water was the only foreign matter it was necessary to supply. Loose grit was added in sawing and boring stone.
Shortland in his "Southern Districts of New Zealand," speaking of a place called Matainaka, says, "In this neighbourhood the natives find the slabs of freestone used in grinding the pounamu (nephrite)." Again, he states that at the base of Puke-tapu, at Wai-hemo, "is found the sandstone used by the natives for grinding the pounamu."
There is a good deal of guessing done in regard, to the uses of certain crude tools, &c., of former times. Plate xiii in vol. xxx of page 110the "Transactions of the New Zealand Institute" shows a small round stone about 4 in. long, which is termed "a sharpening-stone for axes." This could only have been used as we use a whetstone; and the Maori did not use any stone in that manner for sharpening an adze, though he used such stones as the one mentioned for the purpose of smoothing wood surfaces, as handles of adzes, spear-shafts, &c., and also for working inner surfaces. The same plate shows several rough forms of stone that may have been used as hammers and chippers, or flakers. The long narrow pieces of sand-stone found on old village-sites, in middens, &c., have evidently been used for rubbing down surfaces, such as grooves and inner surfaces. Some such pieces are cylindrical and others have flattened sides. They show plainly marks of use, and some retain the form of the curved inner surfaces on which they have been rubbed. Pieces of sandstone are found showing grooves worn by rubbing thereon small tools or other items, in order to fashion, smooth, or sharpen them. Many portable grinding-stones are roughly circular in form, and are "dished" in the middle, this hollow having been formed by rubbing implements thereon from a point near the circumference inward to the centre of the stone. As a rule these portable pieces are not very thick. Some show grooves on the surface.
Evans does not depict any forms of grinding-stones resembling those of the Maori, herein described. His illustrations seem rather to show whetstones, stones rubbed on the tool, except figs. 181 and 187, the former of which is square in section, and the latter shows a narrow groove in which some small item has been rubbed. Wide, flat stones, such as those used by the Maori, are not apparently found in Great Britain, or not to any extent. The above writer speaks of the scarcity of grinding-stones.
In the "Records of the Australian Museum," vol. vii, No. 4, 1909, is an illustration showing a block of sandstone found in a rock shelter at Bundanoon, New South Wales, that has been used as a grinding-stone in former times. Of this block, Mr. W. W. Thorpe says, immediately under the centre of the eaves is a large sandstone block displaying about twenty grooves, resulting from the rubbing-down and sharpening of axe-heads, the water during seasons dripping from the roof assisting in the process." The illustration shows shallow concave depressions in the surface of the stone, very different from the sharply defined, often deep, grooves seen in Maori grinding-stones. They were used for grinding broad stone axes, not narrow adzes.