Story: Seafood

Kahawai lure

Kahawai lure

The traditional Māori way to catch the common coastal fish kahawai was not with baited hooks. Beautiful lures like this one were drawn through the water, attracting the fish with their flashes of colour. Iridescent shell from the native pāua (abalone) lines the inner surface of the whalebone hook. The barbed point is made of New Zealand jade (pounamu). It is tied to the whalebone with twine made from the leaves of the climbing vine kiekie.

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: I. 006367

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:

Maggy Wassilieff, 'Seafood - Early Māori and settler diets', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 March 2023)

Story by Maggy Wassilieff, published 12 Jun 2006