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The Stone Implements of the Maori

III. Native Names For Stone Adzes and Chisels

page 22

III. Native Names For Stone Adzes and Chisels

Any museum collection will make it clear that there were many different kinds of adzes. We give some of the names of the various kinds of adzes and chisels used by the Maori in former times, as also the native names applied to the steel axes introduced by early European and American voyagers.

The most important and most highly prized were the greenstone adzes with elaborately carved handles, classed under the following names: Toki pou tangata, toki hohou pu, and toki whawhau pu. These were ceremonial implements or tokens of rank, and were sometimes used as weapons. They were, as a rule, the best finished of all adzes, and were the only kind that were mounted on finely carved handles, ornamented with quillets of white dogs' hair and the red feathers of the kaka parrot. They are further described in another part of this paper. Usually they were made of greenstone (nephrite), and some of them are rather small; others again are as long as 10 in., and even longer. They are long, thin blades, as a rule, and not of the ordinary thick form of stone adze.

Toki hangai, or toki aronui (an adze).—An adze in contradistinction to a toki titaha, or a chisel-hafted celt, but not a specific term for any particular kind of adze.

Toki tarai.—This is apparently a generic term for stone tools hafted and used as adzes in dressing timber, perhaps in contradistinction to the toki titaha. Tarai means "to hew with an adze."

Toki uri.—The word uri is the Maori name of a dark-coloured stone, of which adzes, &c., are made. Apparently the above term simply means an adze made of the uri stone. In White's "Ancient History of the Maori," vol. iii, page 106 (Maori part), we note the use of the word uri for "adze" without the word toki being prefixed: "E tarai ana ki te uri" (hewing with an uri). This is quite in accordance with Maori usage, as will be seen anon, when we consider the koma and onewa. In the vernacular, the word uri bears the meaning of "black" and "dark-coloured." At Niue Island the term toki uli is applied to stone adzes made of black volcanic stone.

Poke.—Our Maori dictionaries give this as a "short axe." Mr. S. Percy Smith says (Trans. N.Z. Inst., vol. xl, p. 241), "The old-fashioned European axes were termed poke." An old native of Tuhoe informs us that the term poke was applied to steel axes only, not to any stone form. Aki poke is another name for steel axes. Mr. L. Grace informs us that in the Taupo district the name page 23poke was applied only to the American felling-axe; the panehe was a small iron adze, made from any suitable piece of iron and lashed on to a handle; while the term aronui was bestowed upon a large, home-made iron adze, which was lashed to a handle, and used for heavy adzing-work, the panehe being the finishing-tool. The curved steel adzes are termed kapu. Te Whatahoro remarks that the old-fashioned long-bladed iron axes were called kawa, and the name poke was applied to the later American felling-axe. The latter was so named on account of its fine cutting-qualities -he tere ki te kai i te rakau (it ate quickly into the timber).

Poki.—We note elsewhere that Mr. S. Percy Smith has recorded this as a Ngai-Tahu term for the double-bevelled axe-shaped tool that was lashed on axially or in line with the handle, as a chisel is helved.

Onewa; koma.—These two terms are applied to stone adzes, but are, apparently, not names of any special forms of adze. Both are names of certain kinds of stone. Onewa is a dark-grey stone, and koma a light-coloured stone. An implement made of these stones is often called by the name of the stone. Thus, the term onewa may be applied to a patu (weapon) and also to a toki (adze), if both are made of the stone of that name. (Cf. oma, a stone adze, at Tahiti and Hawaii; also koma, a stone adze, at Mangareva.)

We have no separate list of the different names applied to stone adzes as used by any tribe, save a list given by Tutaka, of Tuhoe, who supplied the first three of the following list of names of adzes used for working timber:—

Toki ngao pae.—A large, heavy stone adze, used for heavy "roughing-out" work.

Toki ngao tu.—A medium-sized stone adze, used for shaping beams, canoe-hulls, &c.

Toki ngao matariki.—A small, light stone adze, used for finishing work, to put a fine surface on dressed timbers. The name of toki whakarau seems to be an equivalent for the last name given. It is a finishing-off adze.

Toki ao maramara; toki whakangao; toki tata-These terms will be treated of in the section descriptive of the uses of the stone adze.

Toki manihi.—A Taranaki name for a stone adze used for finishing off an adzed surface.

Toki aronui, or toki hangai.—A stone adze. A stone celt helved and used as an adze. Hangai bears the meaning of "opposite; confronting; across; at right angles"; aronui also means "opposite." page 24These two terms being applied to stone tools helved and used as adzes would seem to imply that some similar tool used by them was hafted in a different manner.

Toki aratua.—The Taranaki rendering of haratua (syn., heretua). One of several names applied to a stone adze used for finishing off a worked surface of timber. Taranaki natives are, like some of the English folk, extremely economical in their use of the aspirate.

Toki tuatua.—Given by a Taranaki native as a name for a stone adze used for rough work.

Toki tiwara; toki tuaranga.—Adzes used for a first rough dubbing down were so named. They were large heavy tools.

Toki tahitahi.—Said to be a name applied to an adze used for polishing off a worked surface.

Toki tamaku.—Said by Te Whatahoro to be a term applied to stone adzes of the ao maramara type.

Toki parakaraka.—A ceremonial implement.

Toki hengihengi.—Diminutive adzes used with one hand.

Toki whakahekeheke.—Used for dressing timber.

Toki mata nui; toki mat a whaiti; toki mat a riki; toki mat a puru; toki tamaku; toki panehe,—Given by Te Ture, of Whanga-nui, as all names of toki hangai, or adzes.

Toki tua rakau tu; toki kakau roa; toki kakau poto; toki waro.—Given by Te Ture, of Whanga-nui, as being the four different kinds of toki titaha, all being so designated.

In his list of adzes above Te Ture inserts the term hangai, as "Toki hangai mata nui," &c., and, in his list of toki titaha, the word titaha as "Toki titaha tua rakau tu" &c.

The toki titaha waro was a large and heavy implement. The term toki hapahapai was applied to toki titaha.

Toki uma rua.—Adze with two breasts or shoulders.

Toki mirimiri.—Adze for finishing work, to do final dressing with.

Panehe; paneke; panekeneke.—Tregear's Maori Dictionary gives these words as being names of "a hatchet or small axe." William's Maori Dictionary gives panekeneke as "a small iron tool, a hatchet." An old Tuhoe native gave panehe as the name of an iron or steel hatchet, but said it was not applied to any stone, tool. Mr. T. H. Smith implies that both these names were applied to stone adzes. The occurrence of the word in the saying "He panehe toki, ka tu te tangitangi kai" (see "Maori Art," page 195) is no proof that any stone adze was known as a panehe, but the remark implies that page 25continuous industry will bring its reward. Mr Colenso plainly gives panekeneke as a modern name, applied by natives to a small metal axe, hatchet, or tomahawk. (See "Maori Art," page 196.)

Patiti.—Given by Maori dictionaries as "a hatchet, a tomahawk." It seems to have been applied to steel hatchets when first acquired, but not to any stone form. The patiti kupa of modern days seems to to be the cooper's hatchet, or perhaps adze, presumably the former.

Te Whatahoro, of Wai-rarapa, contributes the following items:—

Flat, thin adzes were often termed toki paraharaha, on account of their form.

The toki whakaheke was an adze much curved longitudinally, and hence described by the word kokohu (concave, as a shovel, &c.). This was used for such work as the adzing-down of the inside of a canoe. The transverse convexity of the face and blade of the tool ensured a curved cutting-edge. Thus the final dressing, carefully done, showed a series of parallel shallow channels, divided by slight ridges, a surface pleasing to the native eye.

Toki aronui and toki hangai are both terms applied to any tools used as an adze. Haronui, he says, is not a legitimate expression.

All iron axes were formerly termed toki pora, because they were obtained from pora—that is, from white-skinned people, Europeans, who were so named on account of their skin-colour.

The panehe is a small iron adze about 2 in. wide.

The expression tuapaka, meaning "hard," seems to be applied by natives to the lower part of the blade of our axes—that is, to the steel part that is welded on to the iron upper part of the axe. In regard to stone adzes, the term was applied, says Te Whatahoro, to the poike, or poll. If young people used a stone to tighten the wedge of a toki, they were warned to be careful, and not to strike the poike, and so possibly fracture it.

Toki tuatua.—Felling-axe. Any axe used for felling might be so termed, but it was not a name for any particular kind of axe. The term implies a tool hafted as an axe, not as an adze.

Toki manihi.—A small adze, 1 in. or 2 in. wide, used for dressing down such items as paddles and spears. Any small toki used for cutting small stuff, as scrub, might be termed a toki pihi, toki para, or toki aupatu.

Kapu.—This is often given as a name for the old stone adze of the Maori, but it is a name that was applied to very few such items in former times, only to those of a peculiar curved form. We have been informed by old natives that it was applied by their elders to the European steel adze when first acquired, on account of its form, page 26kapu meaning "concave, hollow, the hollow of the hand" (te kapu o te ringa), which describes the shape of the steel adze, but certainly not that of the ordinary stone adze.

Te Whatahoro states that the term kapu was applied by the east coast tribes to short stone adzes, about 6 in. long, or shorter, that were much curved (kokohu) longitudinally. This expression is applied to concave objects, as a shovel, spoon, &c. They were made in this form for the special purpose of adzing out hollows, concavities in large patterned carvings, and in making wooden vessels (tahaa rakau) for containing food, and also in making the wooden necks for tahaa, such items as these having been made in two pieces formerly, before the introduction of iron tools, and then bound together.

Whao; purupuru.—These are names applied to chisels.

The old Maori stone chisels were narrow celts, some of which should be termed "gouges." Illustrations of such, with handles attached, may be seen in Evans's "Ancient Stone Implements," and Polack's "Manners and Customs of the New-Zealanders."

The terms whao and purupuru are both generic terms for chisels, and not descriptive or special names for certain kinds.

The Rev. R. Taylor gives haronui as the name of a "large adze, requiring to be used with both hands," and panehe as "a small adze, used with one hand;" also patiti, "a hatchet." This last name seems to have been applied to iron hatchets only, and never to large iron axes or to any stone tools. The word haro means "to chop smooth with an adze, to dress a timber surface"; hence the above name (haronui) may possibly be a genuine adze-name. But aronui is applied to any toki hafted as an adze, to denote the relative position of blade and handle; and, as the Rev. Taylor resided for many years among the "Cockney" tribes of Whanga-nui, who sadly misuse the letter "h," we are not sure as to the proper form of the above name. It is taken from Taylor's "Maori and English Dictionary," a work that contains many weird and wondrous examples of the spelling of Maori words.

The same work gives paraharaha, "a small iron implement, an edge tool." This looks as though such name was applied to the implement on account of its flat shape. We believe this name was applied by the natives to pieces of iron cask-hoop formerly, the same having been eagerly sought after by them in the early trading days as material wherefrom to fashion certain implements.

Toki hengahenga (native hoe). In an old-time karakia, or charm, pertaining to the old implements of the Maori people, and their use page 27as recited by Tutakangahau, of Tuhoe, occurs the expression toki henahena (the Matatua dialect drops "g"). On asking Te Whatahoro the meaning of this term he at once replied that it was the name of an ancient Maori agricultural implement, hafted and used as is an adze or hoe. It is fortunate that we have in the Dominion Museum two of these tools. One consists of the wooden blade only, but it is of orthodox form, and is a good illustration of this form of implement. The other is from Taranaki, and is of good shape, but is modern, and has been made for show only, inasmuch as it is elaborately carved, even on the face.

The toki hengahenga, says Te Whatahoro, was a hoe made of hard wood, maire or puriri-timbers that do not easily break, and stand a deal of wear. In such woods tools can be made much thinner than in woods more easily broken. These hoes were fastened to handles, and used as we use a metal hoe or adze. They were used by men to hoe up the ground in their cultivations, to loosen it, and to free the weeds that they might be plucked by hand-in fact, for all the careful arts of cultivation that come under the expressive Maori word ngaki. (See illustration below.)

Hengahenga or Wooden Hoe For Cultivating Purposes.

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It may cause surprise that a description of a wooden implement should be inserted in this paper. It has been so inserted not because it is sometimes termed a toki, or because it is hafted and used as an adze, but because it appears that occasionally the toki hengahenga was made of stone. The brother of Te Whatahoro has such a tool made of greenstone that is famous throughout the district of Wai-rarapa, and is a prized heirloom in the family. We have noted one or two references in the works of early voyagers to and sojourners in New Zealand to the fact that a stone hoe was used by the Maori, but did not credit such statements, as no proof had then been produced that such implements were used.

We note a reference to the toki hengahenga in a charm recited in former times during the peculiar rite that preceded the felling of a tree. It was given by old Tutakangahau, of Tuhoe:—

He ao pukapuka,
He ao mahamaha
He toki henahena
He toki ta wahie
Ka pa ki tua
Ka pa ki waho
Ka pa ki a Tane

In his journal, Sydney Parkinson, draughtsman to Joseph Banks during Cook's first voyage, gives an illustration of a wide form of nephrite toki or adze (fig. 23, pl. 26), of which he says, "A wedge or chisel made of greenstone, or poonammoo, as they call it, and sometimes of the basaltes. These wedges they sometimes tie to a wooden handle, and then use them as hatchets and hoes. They are of various sizes, from 1 in. to 8 in. in length." All our native correspondents deny that stone adzes were used as hoes, but on rare occasions a stone hengahenga was seen.

In speaking of the agricultural implements of the Maori, Dieffen-bach, in his work on "New Zealand," remarks, "Sometimes a hoe is used, formed of lydian or greenstone fixed to a handle. It is called a toki." (Cf. toki kaheru.)

It appears to be a fact that a stone grubber was occasionally used, but certainly not to any great extent. The usual grubbing implement was a wooden tima, the hoe a wooden hengahenga. Such a tool of nephrite as the one mentioned by Te Whatahoro would, for obvious reasons, be very rarely seen.

Toki hengihengi.—This was the smallest of all stone adzes (toki aronui), and these diminutive implements were used in shaping page 29spears, taiaha, turupou, &c. They had short handles, often of whale's bone, and carved, sometimes made from a human leg-bone, and were used with one hand only. Many items in our illustrations belong to this class. (See Plates XIX, XXVII, &c.)

Photograph of Maori people