Large Hei Matau
40mm wide 11mm thick 77mm tall
adjustable 4-plait dark brown waxed cord
Ngāi Tahu Pounamu
The Hei Matau symbolises strength, prosperity, fertility and a connection to the land and sea.
Wearing a hei matau brings you protection and good luck, especially in travel or with water activities.
The hei matau is a significant traditional taonga of Māori that expresses the deep connection that tangata whenua have with the sea. Māori held high reverence for Tangaroa the god of the sea and made intricate carvings on their matau hooks to connect with Tangaroa and bring good luck to their fishing excursions. The legend of the North Island, Te Ika a Māui “The fish of Māui” goes, the land was once a giant fish that got pulled out of the sea by the demi-god Māui, using a fishhook made of his grandmother’s jawbone.
Crafted by hand at the Oro Negro Carving Studio on Karangahape Road. We follow Māori Whakairo protocol in crafting taonga that honours the traditions of tangata whenua o Aotearoa. As Colombian carvers, our practice is also about connecting with our own Indigenous South American art forms.
Our Taonga is made to be worn daily. You can shower with it on. It is advised that during physical activity you take off your pounamu or wear it under your clothing. Pounamu will absorb your skin’s oils, so if your taonga is looking dry you can rub it against your skin. Alternatively, you can rub into the stone a tiny amount of natural oil such as coconut or olive oil for shine.