Canterbury Museum

Real Design

Canterbury Heritage

Poutokomanawa, Ancestor Figure Whanganui E70.50

Poutokomanawa, Ancestor Figure Whanganui

This magnificent poutokomanawa, or male ancestor figure, once adorned the base of an interior centre post of a large carved Maori meeting house. It was gifted to the Museum in 1870 by prominent lawyer, ornithologist and collector Sir Walter Buller.

Sadly Buller neglected to provide the Museum with the name of the ancestor, the carved house he once honoured, or the marae where the house once stood. The only information recorded is that he came from the Whanganui area on the west coast of the North Island. Research is ongoing in the endeavour to find answers to these crucial questions.