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Object: Pa Kahawai (trolling lure)

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Title Pa Kahawai (trolling lure)
Production Unknown (carver), 1750-1850, New Zealand
Materials shell, muka, bone
Classification fishhooks, lures
Technique carving, grinding, assembling
Dimensions Overall: 81.45mm (Height) x 29.66mm (Length) x 13.65mm (Width/Depth)
Credit line Oldman Collection. Gift of the New Zealand Government, 1992
Registration number OL000106/10

The pä kahawai is a composite (two piece) trolling lure. The trolling lure is a Polynesian fishing technique that was brought to New Zealand by Maori and later adpated using available materials and targeting local species, the kahawai (sea salmon). The pa kahawai is typically constructed with a wooden shank, to which is firmly set and bound a shaped lure inset, made from paua shell (abalone), and a bone barb.

This particular example consists of a worked piece of paua shell shank, shaped, polished, and decorated with a series of fine notches, with a shell barb, and tightly bound with muka fibre.

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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.