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No. 6 (Royal Tour)
– 28 –

CORONATION GIFT

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Some of the most beautiful carving ever done by Maoris is to be seen in the museums of the world on ancient waka huia, or feather boxes, in which were kept huia feathers, greenstone ornaments and other heirlooms. Almost every waka huia has at the ends either pierced carving, or carved heads projecting from the box. The purpose of these was to enable cords to be fastened to the box, so that it could be suspended from the ridge pole of the house. Thus the bottom of the box was the part most seen, and it was usually richly carved. The box illustrated here is the one which was presented to Her Majesty the Queen on behalf of the Maori people by the Hon. E. B. Corbett, when he attended the Coronation. The box, which contained two huia feathers and a taniko headband, is carved in the style of the North Auckland carvers of former times. These carvers used very beautiful designs, and it is a great pity that their characteristic form of art died out early in the nineteenth century. The North Auckland waka huia were usually rectangular like the example shown here, rather than the oval shape which is more commonly seen.

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