Story: Whakairo – Māori carving

Carved shotgun

The walnut stock of this double-barrelled shotgun has been intricately carved by an unknown Māori artist. The gun itself was made in England about 1860. As firearms and other examples of European technology arrived in New Zealand their wooden parts were often carved by Māori owners. Carving made these objects more attractive and valuable to their owners, and may also have had symbolic significance. 

Using this item

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: DM000065

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:

Brett Graham, 'Whakairo – Māori carving - Carving, 19th century', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 June 2022)

Story by Brett Graham, published 22 Oct 2014