Ara­toi walk-thru with Haami TeWhaiti


Haami Te Whaiti wel­comes every­one to ‘Te Marae o Ron­go­take­take – Re­dress­ing Our Kahun­gunu His­tory,’ the ex­hi­bi­tion un­til early Septem­ber that por­trays the Nga¯ti Kahun­gunu Treaty of Wai­tangi Set­tle­ment for the Wairarapa and Ta¯maki nui-a-Rua. ’’The term ‘Ron­go­take­take’ is the con­cept of an ‘en­dur­ing peace’ that our peo­ple have held very strongly since the very early times of coloni­sa­tion,’’ says Haami. ‘‘Here, we use the con­cept as an en­dur­ing treaty set­tle­ment, as a place of learn­ing, and our peo­ple build­ing Te Ron­go­take­take Marae in 1859 for the Kı¯ngi­tanga move­ment – our first po­lit­i­cal protest.

‘‘We re­searched our taonga na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally; this ex­hi­bi­tion rep­re­sents just a se­lec­tion. Mu­se­ums have been forth­right in mak­ing arte­facts avail­able, and while it’d be lovely to keep some of the taonga from other mu­se­ums more per­ma­nently, we ap­pre­ci­ate hav­ing them at Ara­toi for these few months.’’

The ex­hi­bi­tion’s se­quenc­ing fol­lows the po­hiri or wel­com­ing process used on a marae. The en­try has the same kowhai­whai pat­terns seen in porches of the area’s Kahun­gunu meet­ing houses and lead to a large pho­to­graph of the gift­ing of Lake Wairarapa at Pa¯pa¯wai Marae in 1896. ‘‘Our peo­ple un­der­stood we’d re­tain con­trol of the lake’s re­sources… now some of that prom­ise has been kept – the lake’s com­ing back to us! A fresh be­gin­ning.’’

In this next gallery, ‘‘we ac­knowl­edge those who have de­parted; these 21 pho­tos are of peo­ple who have been di­rectly in­volved in our set­tle­ment over the past 30 years.’’

There they are, in a dark­ened space – 11 Lin­dauer por­traits. ‘‘When some of these por­traits were ex­hib­ited at Auck­land Art Gallery re­cently, the cu­ra­tor told me the Wairarapa por­traits are quite unique in that they’re painted for the sub­jects them­selves whereas many Lin­dauer por­traits were com­mis­sioned by a third party.

Fi­nally, in Tom Don­ald’s por­traits of the ne­go­ti­a­tions team shot at 7pm over 7 days at 7 lo­ca­tions around the rohe, ‘‘…the land/seascapes from Pal­liser Bay to Dan­nevirke are as im­por­tant, or more im­por­tant, than the in­di­vid­u­als.’’

This ar­ti­cle is an abridged ver­sion of a re­cent in­ter­view with Haami Te Whaiti on Ar­row 92.7 FM (­


Ex­hi­bi­tion Cu­ra­tor Haami Te Whaiti at Matak­i­takia-Kupe

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