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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule

A display highlighting the interaction between the monarchy and the wider world


Pair of walking sticks or orator's staffs c.1963

RCIN 92658

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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Maori orators' staffs are known as tokotoko. They are a symbol of authority, usually held during formal speeches. This pair was used in 1963 when The Queen attended celebrations for Waitangi Day. The ceremony marks the anniversary of the treaty made between Maori and Queen Victoria in 1840, in which the queen pledged protection for the indigenous peoples of the islands. At the top of each staff is a figure with an open mouth and a large, protruding tongue – a sign of defiance used in Maori war dances (haka) to intimidate opponents. The expression features heavily in the stylised figures of Maori woodcarving.