This carving on the threshold of a meeting house depicts a tipua (ancestral or spiritual creature). Similar carvings are found in many East Coast meeting houses. This creature is taken from the story of Uenuku and his sons Paikea and Ruatapu. Paikea is said to have survived a disaster in which many others were drowned. Paikea was saved by whales – they were tipua or his tīpuna (ancestors).
Using this item
Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.