Story: Rongoā – medicinal use of plants

Whakapakoko rākau (god stick)

Whakapakoko rākau (god stick)

The whakapakoko rākau or god stick had a pointed end so it could be stuck into the ground. It was used as a temporary shrine for an atua (deity) by tohunga ahurewa (priestly experts). Tohunga were often responsible for healing people, and sometimes used god sticks to concentrate the power of a particular deity.

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: B.001173
Photograph by Augustus Hamilton

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:

Rhys Jones, 'Rongoā – medicinal use of plants - Understanding rongoā', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 September 2021)

Story by Rhys Jones, published 24 Sep 2007