Hei tiki souvenirs from New Zealand

Contributed by pamelalovis

Hei tiki souvenirs from New Zealand

These tiki are souvenirs from New Zealand from different times and places. They are based on the Maori hei tiki, highly valued neck ornaments, often carved out of pounamu, or NZ jade ("greenstone").

On the left is a green plastic Air New Zealand tiki given to passengers on Air New Zealand flights - as a souvenir of New Zealand, and a token of good luck. My family - me, my Mum and my Dad - moved to NZ from the UK in 1978 and were given these on the flight. On the back are the letters Air New Zealand.

On the right is an earlier tiki souvenir that my Mum bought when she first visited New Zealand for a year in c.1953, from Britain. It is made of pounamu but may have been made in Germany from greenstone exported from NZ.

After living in NZ for more than 20 years I now appreciate the incredible and beautiful pounamu hei tiki these are based on, valued by Maori, the tangata whenua. You can see examples of these at Te Papa, and in many UK museum collections.

These tiki speak to me of New Zealand and show how two cultures can meet, and collide. They remind me of the journey my family took in moving to New Zealand from the UK and how this changed us.

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