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  Iwirakau    
  Poutokomanawa - Central post of house    
   
 
  Tribe of origin: Ngati Porou
Waka: Horouta
Iwi: Ngati Porou

Locality: Tikapa
Region: Gisborne-East Coast

Acquisition date: 1897

Material: Wood
Measurements: 300 x 38 x 24 cm

Museum location: Auckland Museum
Specific location: Maori Court West
Ethnology no: 163
 
   
 Pathway: This poutokomanawa represents the ancestor Iwirakau holding his mere pounamu. When Edward Walker of Port Awanui obtained it at Tikapa marae in the 1890s, he was told by Karaitiana Wharehinga that the figure was Iwirakau, an ancestor who lived there ten generations earlier. The carving is from an earlier house, which stood on Tikapa marae where the Pokai meeting house now stands. Iwirakau is famous as the founder of the Waiapu style of carving, sometimes known as the Iwirakau school. Hearing of the arts being taught by Hingangaroa in Te Rawheoro whare wananga (school of learning) established at Tolaga Bay, Iwirakau travelled there to learn the art of carving.
He eventually married Rakaitemania, a great granddaughter of Hingangaroa, and returned to Waiapu where he trained a group of Ngati Porou carvers. The last carver of the Iwirakau school was Hone Ngatoto who died in 1928.
This pou was purchased by the Auckland Museum in 1897 and now stands in the Maori gallery.
 
  
 Catalogue description: Iwirakau holds a mere in his right hand with his left on his stomach. He has moko on his face and thighs and a topknot in his hair. 
  
 References: Simmons, D. 1984. Auckland Institute and Museum Annual Report 1984-5, p 16.
Mead, H. 1984. Te Maori, p 74.