Maori believe that any object of the Earth has its own life force. While in an inanimate state, this unique force can be altered to have desired effect by incantation or thought. These are normally chosen by the individual, often from amongst a multitude of other objects. The Kohatu is a prized possession of the Maori, part of the perfect balance in one's life.
In 1930 Albert Gobder copied the decorative Maori patterns known as kowhaiwhai from Nga Tau e Waru meeting house in what is now the Masterson district of New Zealand. Photograph courtesy Alexander Turnbull Library