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Object: Pou tokomanawa (carved centre post)

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Title Pou tokomanawa (carved centre post)
Production Unknown (carver), 1800, New Zealand
Materials wood
Classification Pou tokomanawa, posts, carvings
Technique woodcarving
Dimensions Overall: 1410mm (Length) x 350mm (Width) x 200mm (Depth)
Registration number ME012207

This pou tokomanawa (carved centre-post) is the first of three upright posts that support the tähuhu (ridge pole) of a large whare tüpuna (ancestral house) or whare rünanga (tribal council house), providing structural stability and supporting the roof. The male figure is fully carved with ta moko (facial tattoo) and is holding a patu (club), indicating his chiefly and warrior status.

Pou tokomanawa usually have a carved representation of a significant tribal tupuna (ancestor) at their base, facing the entrance to the house. Most pou tokomanawa in museum collections today appear as free-standing carved figures because they have been sawn from the main pole by collectors.

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