Story: Hōkakatanga – Māori sexualities

Carved amo

Carved amo

This amo (front post of a house) is held by the British Museum. The figures are male, but their carved penises were removed – this is most obvious on the top figure, where there is clear discolouration. In the 19th century it was common for carvings to be modified by removing sexual organs, particularly at the prompting of missionaries.

Using this item

British Museum
Reference: AOA 1894.7-16.1

© Trustees of the British Museum

Permission of the British Museum must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Clive Aspin, 'Hōkakatanga – Māori sexualities - Early Māori sexuality', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 May 2022)

Story by Clive Aspin, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 22 Jan 2019