Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa
Volume 48, 1915
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– 443 –

Artifacts not traceable to Polynesia.

Another singular stone instrument of unknown use has been found in the Bay of Plenty district, several specimens being known. In form this object may be compared to a flattened tipcat, a wooden item beloved by ungodly boys, who utilize it for the purpose of destroying windows. In cross-section it is almost diamond-shaped, and each end tapers to a point. This implement seems to be quite unknown to natives, and absolutely nothing is known as to its origin or use.

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Yet another stone object, of which a number have been found on old village-sites, is what the writer usually refers to as a stone spool. It bears a resemblance to a couple of cotton-reels placed end to end. These implements are about 3 in. in length, and are very carefully fashioned and finished. A hole is bored axially through the middle, as though for the insertion of a cord, and one side is flat. The outstanding rims or ends and intermediate projections are notched on their edges. A fine specimen found by Captain Bollons is of black stone, and has a very fine finish, it has five projections adorned with notches. Another, at Whanga-nui, is of greenstone; another was found at the Chatham Isles. All have been made with much care, and at the expense of considerable time and labour. Their use is unknown, though some absurd guesses have been made in that direction.

The only object known to the writer as resembling this spool implement is an object of similar form worn by women (Mohammedan presumably) in Cairo, and probably elsewhere also. This is so worn as to cover the nose, and apparently has some connection with the veil worn by such women. The New Zealand object is so carefully finished that it can scarcely have been a tool, as some suppose, but may have been a pendant. Its form is a most singular one. The Maori can tell us nothing concerning it.

In addition to the above there are other manufactured objects of stone and bone in museums and private collections, the names and uses of which are unknown to the Maori. If these various objects were made and used by Maori folk it seems singular that all knowledge of them should have been lost. In this connection I do not refer to the younger generation, but to the old grey-heads who take pride in preserving knowledge of the customs of their ancestors.