Betty Guard's comb

This tortoiseshell hair comb belonged to Betty Guard, the wife of whaler Jacky Guard. She was allegedly wearing it when she was attacked by Taranaki Māori after the ship on which she and her husband were returning from Australia was blown ashore. A tomahawk blow to her head was partially deflected by the comb. Such was the force of the blow that the teeth of the comb broke in Betty’s skull, remaining there for the rest of her life as a permanent reminder of her ordeal.


Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Reference: I.006440
Permission of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa must be obtained before any reuse of this image.

How to cite this page: 'Betty Guard's comb', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 11-Mar-2014

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