- Paua shell
- H3200 x W650 x D150mm
The tōtara carving shows Rongo with a kumara runner in his hand and the roots reaching out.
Attributed with a range of functions and abilities, the great atua Rongo-marae-roa is of universal reverence throughout the Pacific. In Māori belief systems he is the custodian of the kumara and all cultivated foods and atua for horticulture. He also controls the domain of peace and peaceful pursuits. Warring tribes initiated their operations under Tumatauenga, but terminated hostilities under Rongo. Peace was known as Maunga-a-Rongo (settlement under Rongo), or Ho-Hou-te-Rongo (peace negotiations), or Rongo-taketake (lasting peace). Workers and cultivating are placed under the authority of Rongo during planting, weeding and harvesting. The importance of the kumara in the traditional Māori economy made Rongo very powerful. In the feeding of manuhuri (guests) on the marae, he was known as Rongo-marae-roa and in conjunction with Tane was known as Rong-ma-tane. This expresses the duality or cooperation between Tane and Rongo.
Source: University of Waikato Art Collection