Story: Whakapapa – genealogy

Rākau whakapapa

Rākau whakapapa

This rākau whakapapa (orator’s mnemonic staff) probably dates from around 1800. A staff like this is held by an orator as he moves his hand along the notches and recites whakapapa. Each new notch represents a new generation.

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: ME002350

Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Rāwiri Taonui, 'Whakapapa – genealogy - Recalling whakapapa', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 September 2021)

Story by Rāwiri Taonui, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Jul 2015