This short-handled hatchet (patiti) was fashioned from whalebone and iron. It is an example of the trade the Maori had with visiting Europeans and iron as a resource quickly replaced stone tools. Never used for throwing, Maori warriors skilfully employed the patiti for fighting at close quarters. Whalebone became more available in the 19th century through large scale whale hunting. Just off North Island’s south coast, Kapiti Island supported at least 5 whaling stations.

Object Summary

Museum Number 110/1931/1b
Simple Name hatchet
Full Name short-handled hatchet
Common Name patiti
Production country New Zealand
Material metal (iron); whalebone; cotton fibre
Collection class Arms and armour
Production continent Oceania
Production date 19th century
Production year high 1931
Cultural group Maori
Function name weapon