Hei tiki (pendant in human form)


Te Papa

Te Papa
Wellington, New Zealand

This female hei tiki is representative of the less common variety of hei tiki referred to as Type B by H.G. Robley in 1915 and as Type 2 by K.A. Webster in 1948. This variety of hei tiki has a smaller head angled to one side, an extended neck, a hunched shoulder, and one hand raised to the chest.  Note the red sealing wax in the eyes, the forked tongue extending from the mouth, and the ear, chin, and elbow projections.  The pounamu (nephrite) is of the inanga variety sourced from the Arahura River, Westland. Interestingly the suspension hole has no wear and still contains original ‘mud’ formed when the hole was drilled.  The impressive size of this tiki - and evidence from the hole that it has never been worn – indicates that it may have been a trade item which came to reside in a collection soon after it was made.   This hei tiki comes from the Alexander Turnbull Collection gifted to the museum in 1913.


  • Title: Hei tiki (pendant in human form)
  • Date Created: Unknown
  • Physical Dimensions: w101 x h170 x d16 mm
  • Type: pendants
  • Rights: Gift of Mr Alexander Turnbull, 1913
  • External Link: Te Papa
  • Medium: Inanga (pounamu), sealing wax
  • stonemason: Unknown
  • Object classification: pendants; pectorals
  • Material terms: inanga; sealing wax

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