He Hei Whao-A chisel
A dark Raukaraka Marsden Flower Jade with rich colour.
Drilled and decorated with notched design to add texture and a unique distinction reminding us of the notches of a rākau whakapapa (genealogical staff). Such notches were used to count generations. Although our count isn’t aligned to any particular genealogy we use it to serve the memory of time as it connects us all back to our essential connection and our shared evolution from being stone based cultures to who we are now.
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Toki are perhaps the oldest manufactured tool known to man alongside the knife and rod.
The toki was used to hue out boats, cut down trees and to dig gardens. The whao (chisel) was a letter development used to give detail.
Examples of Toki (also carved in Nephrite) have been found from Aotearoa to Egypt, South America to Britain.
Stone adzes and chisels were valued for their practical use and it is suspected that an Adze was a symbol of wealth as well as prestige much the same as a tradesperson’s tools were in the medieval times. The hours of work needed to produce this tool were long and arduous. It has been said that in Aotearoa New Zealand, Māori stone carvers would cut the toki then shape it leaving the old people to polish it using sand and their body oils. Some early toki from NZ show a heightened ridge where the blade reaches the tool’s body. As this ridge serves no practical function it has been suggested that this feature was an artistic development possibly as a form of gifting “mana” back to the gods so that they become more likely to imbue the tool with strength and speed. The toki is a symbol of power to shape one’s own destiny through the practical application of knowledge. We use the whao (chisel) here to represent the development of technology into artistic form.