Canoes have sacred associations since they carried the Maori to Aotearoa. Sternposts (taurapa) are located at the rear of a canoe. At the top of this carving we can see a manaia, or guardian spirit figure. Elaborately-carved sternposts were decorated with feather streamers called puhi. According to one Maori tradition spiders were said to have carved the stern and prow of the first canoe (waka), which is why web-like spiral forms (mata kupenga) feature so prominently on them.

Object Summary

Museum Number 1898/7/2
Simple Name model
Full Name model stern post
Collection Country New Zealand
Common Name taurapa
Production country New Zealand
Collection class Transport
Collection continent Oceania
Collection area/region Australia and New Zealand
Production continent Oceania
Cultural group Maori
Function detail It’s actually half the size of an authentic stern post