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Manu Tukutuku HC248

A manu tukutuku (kite) made of toetoe, raupo and harakeke. The toetoe is used to construct the frame, raupo is used for the body of the kite and harakeke is used to bind it together.

This triangular kite is also known as a manu taratahi.

Manu tukutuku have always played an important role in Māori culture, particularly during the winter season when flown to signify the start of Matariki, the Māori New Year.

Manu tukutuku were recognised as taonga tuku iho (precious gifts handed down); all knowledge (art, customs, language and protocols) from Māori ancestors has a spiritual aspect that embodies values and principles.

Māori flew manu tukutuku for recreation, but also to communicate, to measure the likelihood of a successful enemy attack, or to find offenders. They were also used as a means to communicate with those who had passed on, connecting heaven and earth. Kites use the idea of manu as a representation of and connection with the spiritual world- throughout Polynesia and Micronesia, birds were considered to be spiritual messengers and it was thought that the spirit of a person took the form of a bird; the kite became an extension of its owner and the means by which the kite flyer contacted the spirit world.

Manu tukutuku represent an aspect of Māori spirituality and ritual- kite flying was associated with atua such as Tāne Mahuta (atua of the forests and birds), Rehua (Venus). Tāwhaki (god of health, thunder and lightening) and Rongo-mā- tāne (God of peace and cultivated foods), as well as used for important ceremonies such as Matariki.

Manu tukutuku represent a tangible link with the ancestral homelands of Māori- the first Polynesian people to Aotearoa brought their kite culture with them, along with the aute (paper mulberry)plants that provided the wing fabric for kites ; they also brought traditions regarding kite shapes and sizes, many of which had specific names and uses.

date: 2009

subject area: PE & Health, Technology, Māori, Pacifica

subject themes: Recreation, Māori, Childhood, Matariki, flight

handling collection number: HC248

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