Waka huia - Carving

Daniel Mareroa
SKU: DM440
Availability: 1 in stock


Waka huia

New Zealand Kauri

This Waka huia is carved in New Zealand by Taonga carver Daniel Mareroa – Ngati Porou tribal carver. 

Daniel has been carving for many years and has been mentored by the late Taonga Carvers; Windy Harrison and Paki Harrison, Harataunga, Coromandel Peninsula

Ko Waiapu te awa

Ko Hikurangi te maunga

 Ko Horouta te waka

 Ko Ngati Porou te iwi

 Ko Daniel Kopu o te Rangi Mareroa toku ingoa


The handles of the wakahuia feature the manaia, which symbolizes the messenger between the living and the dead.  Carved in profile, with one half of its body in this realm, and the other half in the realm of the after life.  It depicts the tail of a fish, body of a man and head of a bird.

The wakahuia depicts the patterns ritorito which represents our connection to the earth and unauahi which represents abundance of wealth received from the sea to feed the people.

Traditionally the Wakahuia was used to store treasures, such as a sacred huia feather. This wakahuia has been carved deliberately to have a shallow storage area as only pieces of exclusive treasures are to rest safely here. 

Waka huia and Papa hou are treasure containers made by Māori - the indigenous people of New Zealand. These treasure containers stored a person's most prized personal possessions, such as hei-tiki (pendants), feathers for decorating and dressing the hair such as the tail feathers of the huia (Heteralocha acutirostris), heru (hair comb) and other items of personal adornment. Waka huia and papa hou were imbued with the tapu (taboo) of their owners because the boxes contained personal items that regularly met with the body, particularly the head (the most tapu part of the body).

Waka huia and papa hou were designed to be suspended from the low hanging ceiling of Māori whare (houses) where their beautifully carved and decorated undersides could be appreciated. They were highly prized in themselves and carefully treasured as they passed between generations. As taonga (treasures), waka huia and papa hou were often gifted between hapu (sub-tribes), whanau (families), and individuals to acknowledge relationships, friendships, and other significant social events. It is common to find waka huia and papa hou of one carving style among a tribe who practice a different style.

The rectangular form of papa hou is a northern variation of the more widespread waka huia, which are canoe shaped. The other main difference between the two forms is that papa hou are not carved on the bottom, whereas waka huia is.


 Free of charge within New Zealand. For international courier contact Christine Rabarts on chris@breadandbutter.co.nz