Volume 34 1925 > Volume 34, No. 136 > Notes and queries, p 385-387
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- 385

[391] Stone Artifact of Unknown Use.

In the last number of the Journal we published an illustration of a stone artifact of peculiar form that was found in the Waverley district. Ere that illustration had appeared we heard of a similar object, of the same size and form, that was found near the mouth of the Rangitikei River by the late M. E. C. Rockel nearly forty years ago. An illustration of this latter specimen is here given. In both cases the illustrations are of natural size. The Rangitikei specimen shows a somewhat wider slot and apparently lacks the lozenge-shaped design that is seen on the Waverley specimen. Presumably the two artifacts were fashioned for the same purpose, whatever that may have been.

It will be observed that, in both cases, the ends of the slots are much rounded, and it is just possible that this is the result of using a cord or stem of a climbing plant with a triturant of sharp grit in forming the slot. We are told that the Maori occasionally employed this method of cutting stone in former times.

These notes and illustrations are published with a double object, to permanently record this peculiar artifact, and also with a view to gaining information concerning any other specimens of similar form that may be known to our members or others.

[392] A Wooden Artifact of Unknown Use.

In the collection of Maori articles made by the late Mr. E. B. Williams, which is now in the Hastings Museum, is a carefully fashioned wooden artifact of unknown use. Its form is shown in the illustrations here given. Its length is 17½ inches, and its greatest width is 1¾ inches. It was found in a cave in Hawke's Bay district, and the wood is apparently totara; it is extremely light, and, although it has seemingly been fashioned for a considerable length of time, yet such fashioning was evidently performed with steel tools. It must be borne in mind that the natives of that district have possessed iron and steel tools for many years, probably a century.

The grotesque human figure accounts for 10 inches of the length of the article, and at the lower end a carved design covers another 2 inches. The plain intermediate part probably served as a handgrip. The whole surface has been painted red, and some parts of the surface have retained the paint. The back of the carved figure has been cut into a square flat-topped ridge 6½ inches long and ¾-inch wide. The surface of the ridge is smooth as though caused by rubbing. - 386 This object is thought by some to have been used as a beater in the preparation of the bark of the aute or paper mulberry, but it is too light and too fragile to have served such a purpose.

[393] Tonga-Whiti Folk.

The following note communicated by the late Colonel W. E. Gudgeon is one of interest, and raises the question as to who the Tongahiti people of Hawke's Bay were. Quite possibly the Native Land Court records contain some information on the subject.

“You speak of the Tongafiti people [of northern isles] as being half Melanesian. It was the Tongahiti who came to Mangaia and created trouble for 200 years. Again, Tongahiti was the name of the ancient people of Hawke's Bay, and they are the ancestors from whom all persons derive their claims to lands at Waipawa, and on the Coast.”

[394] Toi and Rakaihaitu.

An interesting genealogy preserved by South Island natives shows their famous ancestor Rakaihaitu to have been a forebear of Toi. The former is said to have come to New Zealand 44 generations ago from a land called Patunui-o-waio in a vessel named Uruao, one of his companions being Matiti. In this version Whatonga appears as the off-spring of Rauru, as in Bay of Plenty lines. Hotumamoe is shown at 20 generations back, and Hika-ororoa 4 generations later. Toi is placed 40 generations back, four generations after Rakaihaitu, a higher position than is assigned to him in North Island lines. We lack corroborative evidence as to these positions of the two famed ancestors, but, if correct, then presumably Rakaihaitu hailed from Eastern Polynesia.

[395] Percy Smith Prize.

This prize, established in the University of Otago, Dunedin, in 1921, was awarded in that year to Dr. P. H. Buck (Te Rangi Hiroa) for work on Maori anthropometry and on Maori textiles. The second award, made this year, falls to H. D. Skinner, lecturer on anthropology in the University of Otago, for published work on the material culture of the Moriori.

[396] Henry Ling Roth (1855-1925).

Wide regret among students of ethnology must have been felt at the death, on 12th May last, of Henry Ling Roth, and that regret must have been more than usually keen in the case of students in the Pacific. His residence in Queenland in the 'seventies and 'eighties, no doubt, turned his attention to the Pacific region which figures prominently in Dr. Haddon's bibliography of 64 items published with Roth's obituary in Man, of July, 1925. He was an excellent draughtsman and a master in the art of collating the literature of a subject, two qualities apparent in most of his publications, but especially in his books The Aborigines of Tasmania (1890, 2nd ed. 1899), and The Maori Mantle (1923). His principal interests lay in the field of - 387 technology and art, and in this department his work on textiles and on tattooing in the Hawaiian group, Tahiti, Tonga and New Zealand forms an important contribution to Pacific ethnology.

But, besides being a writer, Ling Roth was also an administrator of mark. In 1900 he was made honorary curator of the Bankfield Museum, Halifax, which was in the chaotic state usual in British provincial museums twenty years ago. Under his administration it became a first class local museum, illustrating the history of Halifax and of its staple industry, weaving. But, besides serving these two principal purposes, it contained a considerable amount of ethnographic material, including a representative Maori collection. Of this a beautifully illustrated manuscript catalogue was drawn up by Ling Roth and presented to the Hocken Library, Dunedin, New Zealand.


[397] American Delegation Visits Australia.

As a sequel to the work of the Australian National Research Council in securing the foundation of a Chair in Anthropology in the University of Sydney, the Rockefeller Foundation has sent a delegation to visit the various Australasian universities and to study at first hand their work and plans for research in anthropology and in all those sciences which may be grouped under the heading of “human biology.” The delegation consists of Mr. Edwin R. Embree, director of the Division of Studies of the Foundation, and Dr. Clark Wissler, head of the Department of Anthropology of the American Museum of Natural History, and Research Professor of Anthropology in the University of Yale. Mr. Embree and Dr. Wissler visited the four university colleges and the principal museums in New Zealand, and are at present in Australia.

[398] Personal.

The University of Sydney has elected to the newly-established Chair of Anthropology Dr. A. R. Brown, Professor of Social Anthropology in the University of Capetown. Dr. Brown is probably best known for his work among the natives of the Andaman Islands, the results of which were published by the Cambridge University Press in 1922. For this work Dr. Brown was elected a Fellow of Trinity College. His researches on the social organization of three West Australian tribes mark an epoch in these studies, reducing to order and intelligibility material which had before appeared perilously near the borders of chaos.

[399] Personal.

Two ethnological surveys are to be made in 1926 which should be productive of good material—one at Upolu, Samoa, by H. D. Skinner, Hon. Litt. D., undertaken at the request of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, Honolulu; the other at Cook Islands by P. H. Buck, M.D., F.N.Z. Inst. (Te Rangi Hiroa), undertaken at the request of the Board of Maori Ethnological Research, Wellington. The work of both these investigators is well known; and judging by the Memoir on the Chatham Islands by the one, and the various comprehensive papers on Maori textiles, artifacts, etc., by the other, excellent results may be anticipated.