Story: Te mahi kai – food production economics

‘Tohunga under tapu’

‘Tohunga under tapu’

In Gottfried Lindauer’s painting, a tohunga (expert) is being fed by a child. Some tohunga were considered so tapu (sacred) that food was believed to pollute their tapu, and they were unable to feed themselves. Tohunga were experts in appropriate karakia (incantations) and ceremonial activities associated with food production.

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Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki
Oil painting 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:

Manuka Henare, 'Te mahi kai – food production economics - Roles and mana', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/20270/tohunga-under-tapu (accessed 14 July 2020)

Story by Manuka Henare, published 24 Nov 2008