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Maori Waka Hui (Feather Box)

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RTCFA No. OC 0027
Maori Waka Hui (Feather Box)
Artist: Unknown
Wood, shell, and pigment, 4.25 x 22 x 8 in. (10.7 x 55.8 x 20.3 cm).

Geographic Location: East Coast -Bay of Plenty region(?) North Island
Region: Polynesia
Group / Tribe: Maori

Description: The Maori are the indigenous people of Aotearoa, the traditional name for New Zealand. Carved boxes such as this one were traditionally used to hold personal ornaments and other prized possesions. The name waka hui, actually translates to feather box and this is where extinct huia tail feathers were stored. These feathers are worn as hair ornaments for both men and women of royal status. Earlier boxes are usually more elaborately decorated on the underside because that was the most visible part when suspended from the rafters of homes.