Volume 39 1930 > Volume 39, No. 154 > Notes and queries, p 198-199
                                                                                             Previous | Next   

- 198
Illustration
NOTES AND QUERIES.

[442] Antique Tamil Bell found in New Zealand.

This broken bell was obtained by the late Rev. W. Colenso in the early days of European occupation of these isles; he found natives using it as a cooking vessel, and they informed him that, some time before, a large tree had been blown down and its fall exposed the bell. It is said at p. 40 of vol. 4 of the Transactions of the N.Z. Institute to have been so found ‘in the interior of the North Island.’ In Te Ika a Maui, p. 34 of second edition, the Rev. R. Taylor states that it was found at Whangarei. It was discussed in the Weekly News of Auckland, issue of 12th November, 1903. Inside the bell, now in the custody of the Dominion Museum, is a paper, signed W. C., stating that it was found in the interior of the North Island in 1836. An inscription on the bell is in Tamil script, and has been rendered as “Mohoyiden buks ship's bell.” On 2nd June, 1923, the Bishop of Dornakal, South India, examined the bell and observed that it is not an artifact of great antiquity, inasmuch as the name Mohoyiden is a Mahometan name. Both forms of the Tamil script given at p. 40 of vol. 4, Transactions N.Z. Institute, are comparatively modern, neither represents the really ancient form of Tamil script.

[443] A Patu Pora.

When the Maori acquired iron from early voyagers and traders he proceeded to fashion therefrom certain artifacts, among which was the patu pora, as he termed it. It was a short striking-weapon made in the form of the well-known Maori patu onewa. It was termed a patu pora because the material was obtained from ships (pora), and the process of manufacture was no doubt tedious, though iron should be easier to work than true nephrite. The specimen here illustrated is longer than the usual patu fashioned from stone, and is too heavy for quick handling.

Measurements are as follows: The total length is 16⅜ins., the greatest distance across the blade 3⅛ins., and the greatest thickness at the handle end a little over an inch. The blade is thickest in the central median line, the average thickness being just over ⅜in. The edges of the blade are only comparatively sharp and do not nearly equal in keenness the mere pounamu. What may be described as the handle proper extends for 4½ins. along the length, and at this point the width is least, being 1⅛ins., while the thickness here is ⅝in. The outside diameter of the hole bored through the handle is 7/16ins., but this is not uniform throughout, decreasing slightly in the centre of the bore.

- i
THE UPPER PORTION OF A TAMIL BELL FOUND IN NEW ZEALAND IN 1836., THE INSCRIPTION TRANSLATED RUNS: MOHOYIDEN BUKS, SHIP'S BELL., H Hamilton, Photo., Old bell found among the Maori folk by an early missionary. The inscription is in the Tamil script of Southern India.

- ii Page is blank

- iii
PATU PORA
FIG. 1., Side view of iron patu., FIG. 2., Face view of iron patu.
- iv
H. Hamilton, Photo.
Pare found in swamp at Te Puke, Bay of Plenty, 1928. Now in Auckland Museum, to which it was presented by Mr. F. C. Mappin.
Carvings from the first Maori church erected at Turanga (Gisborne District).
- 199

In general, the weapon lacks the perfect symmetry of the Maori type. This is well seen in the side view at the handle-end. The weight is 1,740 grammes, making the iron weapon heavier than all but the largest types of greenstone mere.—W. J. PHILLIPS.

[444] Carved Pare or Lintel-piece.

The illustration given is that of a carved pare such as were placed over the doorways of the superior houses of the Maori; it was found in 1928, buried in a swamp at Te Puke, Bay of Plenty district. Although not a first class sample of the carvers' art, yet it is an interesting specimen; some of the scroll designs shew a peculiar irregularity, while the lower part of the central grotesque figure seems to merge into another grotesque head. The vagaries of Maori carvers are truly remarkable.

[445] Maori Church Carvings.

The accompanying plate shews carvings from the first Maori church erected at Turanga (Gisborne District) in 1840, and blown down in 1842. The outer slabs are of especial interest. The photo was kindly supplied by Captain G. J. Black, of Gisborne, who appears in the picture.