a symbol of mana, respect, and a record of genealogy
The tokotoko has a long tradition that goes back to pre-European times, although the form of modern tokotoko is influenced by the European walking stick. Traditionally a tokotoko was used during whaikōrero or formal speeches when standing on the marae or at events. It was and still is used to enhance and emphasize the speaker's points. It's also used as a memory tool to assist in reciting whakapapa (genealogy) or stories of significance. A tokotoko is a gift of the highest respect and significance - it is given to an elder, leader, or respected person, often on an occasion of great achievement.
These tokotoko display one or more tekoteko-like figures. They depict a significant ancestor. The designs and surface patterning may include some raperape, unahi, and pākati - all represent lines of whakapapa and our connections therein.
The style of these tokotoko is traditional and has elements that can be found in carving styles throughout all regions of Aotearoa.