Title: Hei-Tiki Pendant
Artist: Wayne Turnball (b. Gisborne, New Zealand)
Culture: Māori (New Zealand)
Material: Carved nephrite (pounamu)
Size: 2.75” H x 1.75” W
Credit: Museum Purchase, with support from Shady Ladies LLC
On View: Yes
The original meaning behind hei-tiki figures is unknown. They are thought to be a reference to an early ancestor figure. However, in recent times, they have been associated with safe childbirth.
Today, they are often seen as symbols of protection or good fortune and are worn as a pendant. Others wear them as a means of expressing a generalized sense of New Zealand identity.