Hei tiki (pendant in human form)


Te Papa

Te Papa
Wellington, New Zealand

This large hei tiki is representative of the most common variety of hei tiki referred to as Type A by H.G. Robley in 1915 and as Type 1 by K.A. Webster in 1948. Typically the head rests directly on the shoulders and both arms extend downwards bending inwards at the elbows and rest on the thighs. The large eyes have serrated päua shell inlay. Note the forehead ridge which forks at the nose bridge, the heart shaped mouth with corner and upper central teeth, and the indicative neck beneath the head.  No hands or feet are detailed, and no sex is indicated. The suspension hole is drilled on an angle from the top of the head to the back so that it is concealed when the tiki is viewed from the front.  The dark green pounamu is of kawakawa variety from the Westland source. Note the smooth surface polish.  From the W.O. Oldman Collection purchased by the New Zealand Government in 1948 and formally gifted to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in 1992.


  • Title: Hei tiki (pendant in human form)
  • Date Created: 1500/1800
  • Location Created: New Zealand
  • Physical Dimensions: w83 x h130 x d20 mm
  • Type: pendants
  • Rights: Oldman Collection. Gift of the New Zealand Government, 1992
  • External Link: Te Papa
  • Medium: Kawakawa (pounamu), paua shell
  • carver: Unknown
  • Object classification: pendants; pectorals
  • Material terms: kawakawa; paua shell

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