Heitiki

James Cook, FRS (1728–79), known to history simply as Captain Cook, was granted a one-hour audience by George III in August 1771, following his return from his first expedition to the Pacific. It was probably at this meeting that Cook presented the King with this precious ornament, which the explorer had received from the natives of Queen Charlotte Sound in South Island, New Zealand, in October 1769.

In Maori culture, tiki was the name given to the first created man, and hei means suspended. Carved from the precious nephrite or greenstone known as Pounamu, the hei-tiki was worn round the neck close to the throat. Embodying the spirits of ancestors, it was a powerful mark of the status of the wearer.

Collection description:
James Cook, FRS (1728–79), known to history simply as Captain Cook, was granted a one-hour audience by George III in August 1771, following his return from his first expedition to the Pacific. It was probably at this meeting that Cook presented the ...more
Artist or maker:
Maori
Date:
Eighteenth century
Medium:
Nephrite; Flax; Paua shell; Bone
Measurements:
10.0 x 5.0 x 5.0 cm
Rights:
Royal Collection Trust / © HM Queen Elizabeth II 2017
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