Story: Te whānau tamariki – pregnancy and birth

Hei tiki

Hei tiki

This hei tiki has the milky white colour of the īnanga variety of pounamu. The stone was carved in this traditional style some time between 1500 and 1850. One tradition suggests the hei tiki represents Hineteiwaiwa, an atua associated with fertility. Other traditions are that the hei tiki represents Tiki, the first man, or that it represents an embryo.

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: OL001031

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:

Hope Tupara, 'Te whānau tamariki – pregnancy and birth - Traditional practices – pregnancy and birth', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/27621/hei-tiki (accessed 21 June 2019)

Story by Hope Tupara, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Jun 2017