Object: Decorative Pa Kahawai (trolling lure)
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|Title||Decorative Pa Kahawai (trolling lure)|
Unknown (craftsman), New Zealand
|Materials||pounamu, ivory, paua shell, Kiekie|
|Technique||carving, abrasion, assembling|
x 53mm (Length)
x 17mm (Width/Depth)
|Credit line||Purchased 1968|
Pä kahawai are trolling lures designed to attract and hook large surface-feeding fish, such as kahawai (sea trout: Arripis trutta). Adapted from Polynesian trolling lures, pä kahawai are composite lures typically constructed using a ground and shaped päua (large New Zealand abalone with blue-green inner shell) shell lure set in a wooden shank with a bone barb fixed at the base and bound tightly with muka (flax fibre) cord.
An unusual example
This pä kahawai is unusual because it has been made from the finest materials available. The shank is whale bone, and the päua shell inlay has been carefully selected and fitted to it. The three-point pounamu (New Zealand greenstone) barb is expertly fashioned, and the ends of the hook are tightly bound by three-ply kiekie (climber: Freycinetia baueriana) fibre cord dyed in natural plant extracts.
A ceremonial purpose
The elaborate crafting suggests the lure was designed for a purpose beyond its functional capability. It possibly played a ceremonial role in pre-fishing rituals.
Disclaimer: This information was created from historic documentation, and may not necessarily reflect the best available knowledge about the item. Some collection images are created for identification purposes only and may not be of reproduction quality. Some images are not available due to copyright restrictions. If you have information or questions about objects in the collection, contact us using our enquiry form. You can also find out more about Collections Online.