Story: Sri Lankans

The Tamil Bell

The Tamil Bell

Tamils have long been seafarers and traders. It is believed that they reached northern Australia by the 14th century, and they may have got as far as New Zealand. In 1836 the missionary explorer William Colenso found this bell, which had been used by Māori as a cooking vessel for generations. Inscribed on it in Tamil are the words ‘Mohoyideen Buk’s ship’s bell’. The bell is now held at the national museum, Te Papa. Theories abound, but the origins of the bell and how it got to New Zealand remain mysterious.

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How to cite this page:

Nancy Swarbrick, 'Sri Lankans - Immigration', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 18 April 2024)

Story by Nancy Swarbrick, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 Aug 2023