A letter from Ngāti Raukawa elder Tāmati Ranapiri to ethnographer Elsdon Best in 1895 explained how a tohunga (priest) would place a talisman in the forest to protect its mauri (life force):
The mauri is a charm that is said over something, like a stone or a tree, which the priest believes is an appropriate receptacle or seat for the mauri (life force). ... It is put in an inaccessible place in the forest, and left there.
Tāmati Ranapiri, Letter to Elsdon Best. MS Papers 1187–127, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.