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This taonga in the shape of a Toki was carved from Inanga Pounamu from the Arahura valley on the West Coast of Te Wai Pounamu; also known as the South Island, by Dean Marjoribanks of Te Whānau-a-Apanui.
The Toki represents the adze head, or the blade of a chisel which were a vital tool in early Māori civilisation and as such, were highly valued. They have come to represent qualities of courage, strength, control and determination, aligned with the character of tōhunga whakairo or master carvers.
This piece is carved from Inanga Pounamu, which is known for its silvery or pearly-green characteristics, which develop and change with age and oxidation. Inanga takes its name from the native freshwater Galaxias maculatus or the common whitebait which were an important source of kai (food) for Māori across Aotearoa during annual whitebait migrations. The colour of Inanga Pounamu reflects the pale, transparent nature of Mata, or, young whitebait.