Māori Hei-Tiki Pendant Surpasses Expectations

Wednesday 24th April 2024 - Trevor Williamson


Māori Hei-Tiki Pendant Surpasses Expectations

A literal hidden gem! A Hei-Tiki pendant was discovered in a box of miscellaneous items and reached £3000 at auction

A Hei-Tiki pendant was discovered in a box of miscellaneous items that was brought into the Saturday Auction sale room (Blackminster, UK), as part of a recent house clearance.

Saturday Auction's Auctioneer Christian King spotted the antique pendant and immediately recognised it to be an important museum quality piece. Catalogued and offered at a modest guide price during a Sale of Vintage, Preloved & General Items on April 20th, the Maori artefact surpassed all expectations by reaching £3000 at the fall of the hammer.

“This was an exciting find, and certainly not an everyday occurrence. What I’m particularly pleased about is that the Hei-Tiki was bought by an Easy Live Auction bidder in New Zealand and that it’s being repatriated to its place of origin”.

Christian King – Auctioneer, Saturday Auction

A Hei-Tiki is a neck pendant, (Hei meaning something hanging around one’s neck, and Tiki being a term referring to a carving of human form), worn by the Maori people of New Zealand. Generally regarded as an important heirloom connecting the wearer to their ancestors (‘Tupuna’) and passed down through the generations. Hand carved from a green jade-like stone called Pounamu and found along the western seaboard of the New Zealand South Island, each Tiki is unique but also share similar characteristics such as their head tending to tilt to one side and being of large proportion compared to their body and featuring large eyes, which are usually inlaid with Paua shell, (the Maori name for a species of large edible sea snail).