Tapu (spiritual restriction) was important in all areas of Māori society. Tohunga (priests) oversaw customs that related to tapu and the environment, and were tapu themselves. In this watercolour by Horatio Robley, painted around 1863, a tohunga is being fed by a child. Some people, usually tohunga or chiefs, were so tapu that they needed others to feed them, as food was believed to pollute their tapu.
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