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Waka koiwi (burial chests) removed from display

MEDIA RELEASE 9 February 2006

waka koiwi (burial chests) to be removed from display

On the advice of its Taumata-a-Iwi (Museum’s statutory Maori Advisory Committee, representing Ngati Whatua, Tainui and Ngati Paoa), Auckland Museum has elected to remove the waka koiwi (bone chests) from display in its Maori Court.

Over recent months the Taumata-a-Iwi has been in correspondence with Ngati Hine descendants and been seeking clarification of trusteeship concerning waka koiwi on display. The Taumata-a-Iwi Chairman and Ngati Whatua kaumatua, Te Puna Tumahai has guided the Museum to deal with this issue as a matter of Maori sensitivity.

As alternative views have recent arisen, the Museum has decided to hasten the planned removal of the waka koiwi from display until all parties have had the opportunity to fully discuss what would be best for the taonga (Maori treasures). The upcoming organised visit by a group of people representing Ngati Hine, planned for Thursday afternoon, 9 February, has assisted all parties to understand that more dialogue is still required.

A number of the same chests (which do not contain human remains) have been displayed at Auckland Museum for several years and were included in the “Te Maori” exhibition which toured the United States and New Zealand twenty years ago. At that time, and in 1999 when the new Maori Court displays were installed, tribal elders and authorities were consulted and gave their agreement for display.

The goal of the recently launched Taonga Database Project is to clarify the pathways by which all taonga entered Auckland Museum. The Taumata-a-Iwi needs to know exactly what they are being trustees for in Maori terms so they may guide the Trust
Board and communities accordingly. In 2005 the waka koiwi pathways were identified through this process and the Taumata-a-Iwi is now acting accordingly.

Na te tohutohu a Te Taumata-a-Iwi, ka nuku ki te taha nga waka koiwi mai te kohinga o nga taonga Maori o Te Whare Taonga o Tamaki Paengahira.

Kua whakawhiti korero a Te Taumata-a-Iwi ki a Ngati Hine e paa ana ki mana whakahaere mo enei taonga. Na te Tiamana o Te Taumata-a-Iwi a Te Puna Tumuhai i whakatakoto i te huarahi mo te whare taonga hei whai atu mo tenei take.

Na te rerekeetanga o nga korero, ka tu te nuku haere o enei taonga mo amuri i te whakapaunga o nga korero ki waenga i te whare taonga me nga iwi katoa. Ko te tumanako, kia whai he nohonga tika mo enei taonga. Ka haramai a Nga Hine hei te ahiahi o te 7 o Hui Tangaru ki te whakawhiti korero mo nga taonga nei.

Ko etahi o enei taonga ka tu ki te whare nei mo he maha o nga tau. Ko etahi o enei i whakaatu hoki i te waa a ‘Te Maori’ me tona rerenga atu ki Amerika neke atu i te rua tekau o nga tau ki mua. Mai taua wa me ki te tau 1999 ano ka whakaae nga kaumaatua mo te whakaaturanga o enei taonga mo te ao hei kitea.

Ko te whainga o te Taonga Database hei whakamaarama i nga ahutanga o nga korero mo nga taonga e takoto nei, ara, me pehea ratou i tae mai nei ki te whare taonga. Me whakamanahia tatou i te Taumata-a-Iwi me o ratou mahi ki te whakatakoto te huarahi mo te Poari o te whare taonga nei. I te tau 2005 ka watea te harahi mo te Taumata a Iwi ki te whakahokia nga waka koiwi ki nga waa kainga.


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