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Taranaki Whenua: Life, Blood, Legacy

News Release

28 February 2008

The Region We Call Home.

Taranaki Whenua: Life, Blood, Legacy

Rounding off a sizzling summer at New Plymouth’s Puke Ariki Museum is an extraordinary exhibition that is based on different attitudes to land and the environment. Taranaki Whenua: Life, Blood, Legacy is the second exhibition in a series of five in the Common Ground programme, and it examines some fundamental cultural differences between European and Māori attitudes to land management and kaitiakitanga.

“The show is designed to be thought-provoking and I am sure that visitors to Puke Ariki will be enlightened by the illustration, juxtaposition and discussion of important environmental issues,” says Bill Macnaught, manager, Puke Ariki.

This includes the exploration of the importance of the very different cultural approaches to land ownership and the tensions it created between Māori and European settlers.

“It is also a great opportunity for us to present some of the most prized artworks from our collection, including the extraordinary gift from the sponsor of the Common Ground series, the TSB Community Trust, of the Sir Francis Dillon-Bell painting depicting New Plymouth in 1845,” he says.

Mr Macnaught continues “We are also delighted to have been able to publish a book of the same name Taranaki Whenua: Life, Blood Legacy, with the help of the Taranaki Regional Council. I believe this high quality publication will be a collector’s item – the subject is of growing importance, it contains 240 pages of fascinating material and is beautifully produced. The book features a discussion on the concept of ‘homeland’ and the distinctive qualities of the land and kaitiakitanga in Taranaki. It beautifully illustrates historic and modern land management in Taranaki using maps, paintings, and photographs.


Page two

The Common Ground series is an ambitious 5 year programme exploring some of the more challenging aspects of the social history of Taranaki, recognising that conflict and struggle form part of the shared heritage of this region. The series is sponsored by the TSB Community Trust. Each year a major theme will highlight a different dimension of the social history of Taranaki. The themes include; People, Land, Culture, Economy and the final theme will reflect the significance of War & Peace in Taranaki. In 2010 the exhibition will be a major undertaking that will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the outbreak of the first Taranaki War in 1860.

Bill Macnaught envisages the outcome of this work to be a long-term strengthening of the sense of community throughout Taranaki. “The project depends entirely upon the people of Taranaki being directly involved and may contribute to the social cohesiveness of the region; it also helps to build a better understanding of the history of Taranaki and the people who share this Common Ground,” he says.

Taranaki Whenua: Life, Blood, Legacy

29 February – 25 May 2008

Puke Ariki Museum

New Plymouth

Admission Free


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