Of all Maori personal adornments, the human figure pendants known as hei tiki are the most famous, prized, and culturally iconic. This book examines and celebrates the long history of hei tiki and the enduring cultural potency of these taonga or cultural treasures. This first book on hei tiki for 60 years is written by the Acting Senior Curator Matauranga Maori at Te Papa, who is a hei tiki expert. It includes a large selection of hei tiki, most from the taonga Maori collections of Te Papa, which is the largest in New Zealand and very likely the world. Many are published here for the first time, including some with exalted histories of ownership. It also covers the work of leading contemporary hei tiki makers.
About the Author
Dougal Austin (Kati Mamoe, Kai Tahu, Waitaha) is Senior Curator Matauranga Maori at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. He has a particular research interest in the origins, development, cultural use, and significance of hei tiki.