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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70



No doubt greenstone was worked in all Maori villages in this Island, but certain localities must have been special workshops. At a certain spot at Longbeach, in the Purakanui district, and at a similar spot at Warrington, I find innumerable minute fragments, as if some chipping process had been carried on there on a large scale; though my authorities assert that chipping did not form part of the process. Curiously enough, these fragments are often polished, as if finished implements had been chipped or shattered there; but the fragments are invariably very small.

In the vicinity of this spot at Warrington (the Maori name of which is Okahau) numerous unfinished objects intended to be of a superior type have been found. The late Captain Pitt, who lived there for years, had a number of these, and I have recently found a very fine one. Here, too, many fine finished implements have been found. Mr. Pratt, member of Parliament for the Southern Maori District, tells me that a small stream near here is called Hohopounarnu, or "Rubbing the greenstone;" but the name appeal's to refer to the dripping of water in the process of rubbing.

By far the richest spot for finished and unfinished implements in this district is Murdering Beach, formerly called Wauakeake. Mr. and Mrs. Hunter, who owned the little farm there for many years, dug up immense numbers in making their garden, and since then numbers of objects have been found by others. In all, some six or eight hei-tikis have been obtained there.

Mr. John White tells me that of his collection, comprising six hundred objects of worked greenstone, about four hundred come from Murdering Beach or its immediate vicinity. Murder- page 26 ing Beach comprises, perhaps, twenty acres of ground within the limits of which objects aro found. This beautiful spot was evidently thickly peopled, and must have been the aristocratic quarter of the district. Remains of burnt whares are found all over the flat ground. Warrington, too, was thickly populated; and it is not difficult even now to dig the remains of old whares out of the sand, The great variety of stone hammers, anvils, and cutting-tools found there shows that ii was a regular manufacturing centre.

In Mr. John White's collection are two singularly beautiful spindle-shaped chisels, each 6in, long, and a small axe, all made out of a stone of rare colour. I have never seen stone at all like it. The colour is cream-colour, with patches, streaks, and spots of inanga-green sparsely dotted over it. These three pieces were found together, and it may be assumed with certainty that they were worked there from one block. In the same way there are in the same collection four hei-tikis of a very peculiar streaky asbestos-tike stone, answering to that described in the latter part of Question 11. These three were found at Murdering Beach, which lies between the Otago Heads and Purakanui, The finding of these three, apparently made from one block of stone, seems to indicate that they were made there, though, as will be seen, the evidence of the Maori authorities consulted by my correspondents leans to the conclusion that they were never made on this Island, though not conclusive on the point.

One of the most remarkable objects in this collection is an unfinished hei-tiki found at Waikouaiti. All that remains to be done is to finish off the parts which have to be rounded—e.g., nose, arms, legs, and abdomen. Its lowest edge is at present as sharp as the edge of a chisel. This has to be rounded off and notched so as to form that curious semilune which represents the lower part of the legs and the meeting toes in a well-ordered hei-tiki. There is also a very remarkable hei-tiki in the Christchurch Museum. It has evidently been a large one, the bowed legs of which have been broken off by accident. The artist has then set to work to change the design. He has commenced by obliterating the face by neatly grinding it flat.

No doubt greenstone is still worked in many places in the North Island. Mr. J. B. Reíd, of Dunedin, tells me that when he visited Lake Waikaremoana some years ago he saw numerous Uriweras working it. They generally worked with a sandstone rubber on the side of a canoe, which had in the bottom a little water, used for wetting the stone.

A collector tells me that, obtaining large numbers of objects by digging in sandhills at Warrington, Purakanui, and other places, he finds most of them in the remains of old whares or page 27 dwellings. When he has cleared away the drifted sand he finds by the presence of hearth-stones that he has reached the floor. Below the level of this he may expect to find in one spot a small collection of treasure. It looks as if there were a receptacle under the sandy floor, which was probably covered by a flax mat. The site of this receptacle may sometimes be detected by a slight discoloration in the sand. In one he saw opened there were two beautifully-finished objects of greenstone and several odd pieces, also several pieces of kokotai, or h æmatite, with the mullera used for crushing it, and several sandstone rubbers. This represents the stock-in-trade and tools of a greenstone-cutter, and also the material and tools with which he made the red paint with which, mixed with shark's oil, he adorned his person. I have several of these mullers, still red with the adhering paint, dug out in this way, and I often find the pieces of soft red stone in the camps.