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Object: Paepae pataka (threshold for storehouse)

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Title Paepae pataka (threshold for storehouse)
Production Unknown (carver), 1800, New Zealand
Medium summary Wood, paua shell
Materials wood, paua shell
Classification Paepae roa, thresholds, pataka
Technique carving
Dimensions Overall: 2108mm (Length) x 355mm (Height)
Credit line Oldman Collection. Gift of the New Zealand Government, 1992
Registration number OL000041

This paepae (threshold) is the outer threshold of a pataka (storehouse). While not much known about it, the chevroned or peaked heads of the figures within the carving indicate a Taranaki origin. The five figures are typical of the paepae pataka form. There are three central figures, with a female figure in the centre, and two terminating manaia (bird-like figures) on either end.

Pataka
Pataka were small houses used to store food and other guarded materials. While some were unadorned and simple in style, others could be extraordinarily lavish, with highly detailed and beautiful carvings. A famous whakatauki (proverb) indicates the importance of a pataka's appearance:

‘Ko te tohu o te rangatira he pataka whakairo e tu na i roto i te pa tuwatawata.’

‘The sign of the chief is a carved pataka within his fortress.’

By observing the carved ornamentation and decoration on a pataka, visitors to a tribe would be able to ascertain the chief’s capacity to provide for his people and, therefore, the tribe’s capacity and strength to protect and fend for itself.

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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.