Story: Te hauora Māori i mua – history of Māori health

Tohunga under tapu

Tohunga under tapu

This image of a tohunga painted by Gottfried Lindauer was a reworking of an earlier work by Horatio Robley, painted around 1863. The tohunga is being fed because he is so tapu that he is unable to touch the food himself. One role of tohunga was to heal people if they got sick. Often sickness was believed to have been brought about as a result of breaches of tapu.

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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:

Raeburn Lange, 'Te hauora Māori i mua – history of Māori health - Pre-European health', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/27233/tohunga-under-tapu (accessed 18 October 2019)

Story by Raeburn Lange, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 4 Apr 2018