Story: Rongoā – medicinal use of plants

Making fire

Making fire

This oil painting, 'Firemaking,' by Gottfried Lindauer shows how pre-European Māori made fire. The man is rubbing a pointed stick of a hard wood, probably kaikōmako, vigorously along a grooved piece of soft māhoe wood. When the māhoe reaches ignition point, a fine fluff of dry moss, wood dust or beaten flax (the pile next to the man) will be placed in the groove to catch alight.

Using this item

Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki
Oil on canvas by Gottfried Lindauer

Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Rhys Jones, 'Rongoā – medicinal use of plants - Understanding rongoā', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 September 2021)

Story by Rhys Jones, published 24 Sep 2007