Ma¯ ori taonga re­turned to CHB

CHB Mail - - NEWS - BY TE HIRA HEN­DER­SON Cu­ra­tor Taonga Maori MTG Hawke’s Bay Napier

In one of New Zealand’s old­est in­land towns, Waipawa, founded in 1860, stands the his­toric BNZ build­ing (circa 1887), which is now the Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay Set­tlers Mu­seum.

A mov­ing cer­e­mony took place to open a spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion at CHB Set­tlers Mu­seum on Sat­ur­day morn­ing 1 De­cem­ber at 5.30am. Nga¯ Taonga o Ta­matea Te Hokinga Mai Ex­hi­bi­tion — The Re­turn of Ma¯ ori Trea­sures to Cen­tral Hawkes Bay. The ex­hi­bi­tion was blessed by John Barry Smith and then en­joyed by all. De­spite the cold wet morn­ing many lis­tened to speeches from Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay Mayor Alex Walker and other dig­ni­taries.

The mu­seum has re­cently opened its ex­hi­bi­tion of lo­cal taonga Ma¯ ori.

Ded­i­cated to arte­facts from Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay, the aim is to build re­la­tion­ships be­tween the mu­seum, lo­cal iwi and tai­whenua.

The crowd fol­lowed the to­hunga chant­ing prayers, evok­ing the pro­tec­tion of the gods.

Lis­ten­ing, look­ing, walk­ing past the ex­hibits: a moahunter toki found in Putere Creek, Po­ran­ga­hau, and a ko­ruru from the top of the meet­ing house Te Poho o Kahun­gunu which stood at Po­ran­ga­hau.

These and other valu­able ob­jects, hei tiki, ta­iaha, patu, a link to the past of Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay.

Pro­to­col was ad­hered to with tan­gata whenua wel­com­ing manuhiri and thank­ing those who worked on the ex­hi­bi­tion.

Dr Roger Maaka, chair­man of the Kahun­gunu Ta­matea Tai­whenua, was the first speaker. He spoke of the im­por­tance of this ex­hi­bi­tion to the lo­cal peo­ple of Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay.

As the first ex­hi­bi­tion of its type at the CHB Set­tlers Mu­seum, Roger said it was just a start and would con­tinue and build into the fu­ture.

He ap­plauded Jana Uh­lirova, cu­ra­tor and man­ager of the CHB Set­tlers Mu­seum, for her ini­tia­tive and tenac­ity in pro­duc­ing this ex­hi­bi­tion, which gath­ered taonga from MTG Hawke’s Bay, Te Papa Ton­garewa, and from pri­vate col­lec­tions.

Mayor Alex Walker also spoke on the im­por­tance of the ex­hi­bi­tion, the bridg­ing of con­nec­tions be­tween lo­cal iwi, the com­mu­nity, the mu­seum and the coun­cil.

Ran­gi­tane Don Tipene also spoke on his vol­un­tary work along­side Uh­lirova, iden­ti­fy­ing and col­lect­ing arte­facts, mount­ing them for dis­play and de­vel­op­ing the la­bels to sit along­side each item.

Tipene also worked on en­sur­ing the cor­rect in­for­ma­tion was avail­able when show­ing groups through the ex­hi­bi­tion and has been busy with school groups since. It is his way of giv­ing from a hapu¯ tan­gata whenua per­spec­tive and en­sur­ing knowl­edge is passed on to fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

MTG Hawke’s Bay Napier’s role is to con­serve, pro­tect and doc­u­ment the more than 6500 taonga Ma¯ ori in the col­lec­tion.

It’s a sub­stan­tial col­lec­tion for any mu­seum, let alone a pro­vin­cial mu­seum, and valu­able.

This means a duty to share with other mu­se­ums in Aotearoa, to ex­hibit these taonga Ma¯ ori for all, and col­lab­o­rate with other Hawke’s Bay mu­se­ums such as the CHB Set­tlers Mu­seum and the Nga¯ Taonga o Ta­matea — Te Hokinga Mai ex­hi­bi­tion, un­til March 1, 2019. Mau­ri­ora kia tatau, tatau.

As you en­ter the ex­hi­bi­tion hall there’s a wel­come into the spir­i­tual world of Ma¯ ori with the back­ground of bird calls, in­ti­mate light­ing and mu­rals of na­tive bush painted by O¯ tane Art & Craft artists. The help of mu­seum vol­un­teers en­abled the high stan­dard of the dis­play.

The in­sti­ga­tors of this lat­est ex­hi­bi­tion, CHB Set­tlers Mu­seum com­mit­tee mem­ber and vol­un­teer Don­ald Tipene (Nga¯ ti Kahun­gunu, Nga¯ ti Kere), and Jana Uh­lirova, cu­ra­tor and man­ager of the mu­seum, pic­tured at the open­ing.

PHO­TOS: JACKIE LOWRY

A mov­ing cer­e­mony took place to open a spe­cial ex­hi­bi­tion at CHB Set­tlers Mu­seum on De­cem­ber 1 at 5.30am. Nga¯ Taonga o Ta­matea Te Hokinga Mai Ex­hi­bi­tion — The Re­turn of Ma¯ ori trea­sures to Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay.

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