Kerewhenua – Large Pounamu Toki
Kerewhenua is yellow clay. The clay of the earth. Maori have understood soil as taonga from the beginning of time. Papatūānuku, the earth, is the primal mother upon which all life depends. And in Māori creation stories, the first human was formed from the soil. The reo has an almost infinite number of words to describe the various soils and clays. This highlights the intricate knowledge Māori had of the soil and life’s dependence on understanding it.
The link to the land is strong. The soil was a taonga for Māori, with small packages of it being carried from their ancestral islands to be deposited as mauri under alters here in the new land, Aotearoa. Your whenua (placenta) is buried in the earth, also whenua.
When the demigod Māui failed to convince Hine-nui-te-pō, goddess of the underworld, to let humans die like the moon (die and return) she told him, ‘Me matemate-a-one’ (let man die and become like soil).
When someone captured in battle was dying, or about to be executed on another tribe’s land, they might request, ‘Tukua mai he kapunga one ki au, hei tangi’ (send me some soil from home that I might grieve over it). https://teara.govt.nz/en/oneone-soils/page-2
It is difficult to show the beauty of this piece in a photo. But do look closely and you will see this toki is alive with colour and pattern, with spots of green amongst swirls of golds, browns, creams and even red.
A strong and vibrant taonga, it has an intensity and its own mana. This toki was carved to connect you with your whenua, with your tupuna, with your strength.
- A one of a kind taonga by Timoti
- Marsden Flower Jade from Te Tai Poutini
- Length 120mm x 45mm
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