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Te Atairangikaahu to open tomorrow

Te Atairangikaahu: The Soaring Hawk of the Dawn exhibition to open tomorrow

A window into the Tangihanga (funeral) for Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu is about to open at Waikato Museum as the exhibition Te Atairangikaahu: The Soaring Hawk of the Dawn launches tomorrow [Saturday, 8 December 2007] with a public opening.

The exhibition, which will open tomorrow with a formal ceremony and powhiri, is a primarily photographic exhibition that celebrates the life and reign of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. The exhibition’s opening signifies the official close of 12 months of mourning the loss of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu on 15 August 2006.

The Tangihanga (funeral) of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu was captured on film with the permission of the Tainui people by Waikato Times chief photographer Peter Drury. The exhibition features this collection of photos which offer a permanent visual record of the events throughout the formal period of the Tangihanga.

Waikato Museum director Kate Vusoniwailala says the exhibition offers all visitors a rare insight into the history of Kingitanga and the life of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu.

“In essence, the exhibition is a celebration of the life of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu and outlines the pathway of her birthright and succession as leader of Kingitanga during her 40-year reign. Te Arikinui was a Queen and leader who was both loved by her community and respected internationally for her wisdom and vision. Now, as the official 12 months of mourning has drawn to a close, it is a great privilege for Waikato Museum to host the Te Atairangikaahu: The Soaring Hawk of the Dawn exhibition.”

Waikato Times chief photographer Peter Drury regards his assignment as the official photographer of the Tangihanga of Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu as the highlight of his 25-year photographic career.

“I have been to many events around the world of international importance but the photos that I am most proud of and that mean the most to me, were taken in my old family home town of Ngaruawahia.

“The photographs in the exhibition are my making, only in the fact that I chose which moment to capture. The occasion, the reason for the emotion, the depth of feeling that is expressed in the photographs is because of the aroha that Dame Te Ata had for her people and they for her.”

Te Atairangikaahu: The Soaring Hawk of the Dawn is sponsored by the Waikato Times, The Princess of Hawaii – Princess Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawananakoa, Te Puni Kokiri, Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust and Te Tira o Kowhai.


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