New Taonga Exhibition Opens

New Zealand’s complex and fascinating Māori history is shared through stories from local iwi Ngāti Kahungunu and their enduring ancestral connections to the land in our newest exhibition.

Tēnei Tonu, which can be translated as Always Here, tells the story of our tangata whenua (people of the land), and their deep connection to place, the land and waterways of this region.

Curator Taonga Māori Tryphena Cracknell says almost all of the nearly 200 taonga on display are from the Hawke’s Bay Museums Trust, Ruawharo Tā-ū-rangi collection, with some notable exceptions. “There are some significant loans, like the four poutokomanawa at the entrance that are on loan from the A Donnelly Estate, and the poupou (carved panels) and heke (rafters) that frame the exhibition space, from Ngāti Kere of Pōrangahau”. Alongside historic taonga, contemporary work from artists Emanuel Dunn, Israel Tangaroa Birch, Rākai Karaitiana, Jacob Scott support the central theme of tangata whenua and a continual relationship with place.

The exhibition title is borrowed from the words of local rangatira Te Atāria Rārere, who in 1886 defined the people’s rights as tangata whenua through ties to whakapapa and this area.

The largest iwi in Hawke’s Bay is Ngāti Kahungunu but there are others still here. Tangata whenua trace their ancestry to the earliest people from this region, like the Whatumāmoa people whose genealogical lines remain strong. Ngāti Kahungunu, named for the ancestor Kahungunu, connects hapū sub-tribes from Wairoa to the Wairarapa. Other iwi here are Ngāti Hineuru towards Taupō, Ngāti Pāhauwera at Mōhaka, Rongomaiwahine at Te Māhia, Ngāi Te Whatuiāpiti in southern Hawke’s Bay and Rangitāne through to the Wairarapa.

Tēnei Tonu opened with a a dawn ceremony yesterday (Friday 7 August). The exhibition will continue until 2017.

7 August 2015

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