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Mere pounamu (nephrite weapon)
Mere pounamu (nephrite weapon) 1800-1900
Maker unknown, Wairarapa
South Westland source; 'Barn Bay' type stone, 314 x 109 x 13 mm
This object is featured in Te Papa's Collections Online
This mere pounamu (nephrite weapon) symbolises a relationship forged between two communities.
When a wharenui (meeting house) was opened at Papawai, Southern Wairarapa, in 1900, related groups travelled from throughout the district for the occasion. A marriage was arranged between Hiraani Toki, youngest granddaughter of the chief Hoani Toki, and the son of Waimarama Puhara Hawaikirangi, a visiting chief from Heretaunga (Hastings).
Hiraani accompanied the Heretaunga people on their return home. The mere went with her as a symbol of the relationship between the two groups. Unfortunately, the son of Waimarama Puhara died before the marriage could take place.
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