Ma¯ ori taonga returned to CHB
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.
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.