Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 14, 1881
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“Historical Incidents and Traditions of the Ancient Maoris of this East Coast, showing much of their habits, customs, and ways of thinking in the olden times—ages before they were first visited by Europeans,” Part II., by W. Colenso, F.L.S. (Transactions, p. 3).


The Hon. Secretary also showed several interesting specimens of insects, and of plants (Cryptogams), lately collected by him in the Seventy-Mile Bush; also, a very large flat white bone, artificially shaped into something like the form (and size) of the blade of a garden spade, measuring, extreme length 16 inches, breadth (at its broadest end) 7 inches, and 4 lines in thickness, which is very uniform throughout; the broad end is bevelled

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  • down to a cutting edge, and the sides are square. This bone was found last year in the forest, near to the public works on the railway line at Kopua, lying under 10–12 feet of earth. None of the old Maoris of to-day, who have seen it, know anything of it, or of its probable use. It seems to be made out of a bone of a whale, and is (here, at least) unique.