Skip to content
  • 9am–5pm
  • Free general admission
  • Shop

We are no longer updating this page and it is not optimised for mobile devices.

You are in site section: Explore

Fishhook matau okooko

Fishhook matau okooko

Place: New Zealand
Category: Fishing & hunting

wood, bone, cord, New Zealand, l. 15 cm, Inv. Oz 337

Humphrey No. 237: ‘A simple kind of Fish-hook the shank made of wood, having a catch made for the lines at one end, and at the other a hole thro’ which one end of a long point, or hook, of bone, with a hole thro’ it, is put, and fastened on the back of the Shank by a Pin put thro’ the hole; There is a ridge made in the bone to prevent its going too far thro’, which is carved. From Charlotte Sound New Zealand.’

Composite fish-hook with wooden shank, inserted bone point, and twisted cord.

This is presumably a barracuda fish-hook, in which a notch can be recognised on the inner side. The straight and massive shank is made of dark wood, the lower end is drilled through with an inserted bone tip. ‘The hooks were used with a short line attached to a stout rod about six feet long. When the hook was threshed about on the surface, the voracious barracuda readily swallowed the lure without any bait’ (Buck 1952: 220). Markus Schindlbeck


Buck, Peter, The Coming of the Maori, Wellington, 1952.

Return to Top