07 / Tiki

Throughout Polynesia the tiki refers to carved figures of human forms. For Māori, the pounamu (greenstone, or jade) hei tiki is the most characteristic and highly valued of all personal ornaments. Myths tell of the first hei tiki dating from the time of the gods, but its origins remain unclear. Hei tiki may be worn by both men and women, and are passed down through the generations as family heirlooms. As a result, an individual hei tiki acquires mana, or prestige, from contact with great ancestors who have worn it in the past.


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