This waka kōiwi (burial chest) is in the shape of a lizard. Lizards were traditionally feared and the carving was intended to protect the remains should someone come across the chest. The waka kōiwi was found in a cave at Waimamaku near Hokianga.
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Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Reference: Elsdon Best, The Maori. Wellington: Board of Maori Ethnological Research for the Author and on behalf of the Polynesian Society, 1924, pg 277
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