Sunday, December 19, 2010
Of Beauty & Symbolism - Tokotoko
I took this series of photographs of tokotoko (walking sticks) at the opening of Ngati Wheke's new whare tipuna at Rapaki Marae in November. The men you see carrying tokotoko at a hui (meeting) or on a marae (meeting place), are generally those recognised as orators, with an authority to speak (at the gathering).
The tokotoko is very much an object of beauty, symbolic of authority and status; and it is generally decorated with carving that represents the owner's ancestry, or a legend. Historically it represented the history from which that status was derived and in former times, they were often notched with carvings which successive generations of owners used to help them recite their genealogy.