Kihikihi Taonga – Cicada wing

I am absolutely in love with this little winged taonga.  This taonga was made from the end of a pebble and as it came off Tim could easily see it was meant to be the wing of a Kihikihi (cicada).

Have you seen a Kihikihi wing up close?  They shimmer in the sun like something quite magical. Tim left its raw edge in its natural state as it shimmers just like those wings.   The little brown dendrites like the veins of the wing. And if you hold it up to the sun you can see the light coming through the edge. It’s really such a lovely wee taonga.

Kihikihi is derived from kihi, which means to make a murmuring, indistinct sound. If you have heard the cicada you will understand how it gets its name. At the peak of summer their chorus can be almost deafening.  Although the truth is that all 42 different species of Kihikihi have their own song, and Māori were able to single them out by it.

Maori compared the noisy English language to kihikihi (He reo kihikihi—The cicada language), and called the European Pākehā he kihikihi.

Insects are central to many Māori creation stories and other pūrākau.  They are often referred to as  Te Aitanga Pepeke or Te Aitanga a Punga, The Insect People.

Different species of Kihikihi had different names dependent on their characteristics – Kihikihi Kai was a cicada that was made into a paste and eaten. Or Kihikihi Wawā, the cicada that makes a great roar.  Their are  whakatauki in reference to the cicada and even a haka based on their raucous summer song. All these elements, their names, their reference in whakatauki and pūrākau and the fact that they have an iwi name indicates that Kihikihi were central to Māori life.

And so Tim has paid homage to this incredible insect though this piece, Kihikihi Taonga.

Mehemea ka tae ki te waru, ka piri taua iwi, te kihikihi, ki to ratou tupuna ki a Tane

When the eighth month (December) arrives that tribe, the cicadas, cling to their ancestor Tane


  • One of a kind, taonga by Timoti
  • Kokopu pounamu from Te Tai Poutini
  • 66mm length x 21mm width


Out of stock


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