Story: Māori theatre - te whare tapere hōu

Karetao (puppet), early 1800s

Karetao (puppet), early 1800s

The karetao was one of the features of the whare tapere, the earliest form of Māori theatre. The puppeteer held the handle at the base and moved the karetao's arms by pulling a cord that passed through its shoulders. This example, carved from wood, dates from the early 1800s.

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Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: ME023983

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

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How to cite this page:

Mark Derby and Briar Grace-Smith, 'Māori theatre - te whare tapere hōu - Origins of Māori theatre', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/object/43324/karetao-puppet-early-1800s (accessed 11 August 2020)

Story by Mark Derby and Briar Grace-Smith, published 22 Oct 2014