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Museum celebrates 150 years of Kingitanga movement

Waikato Museum celebrates 150 years of the Kingitanga movement

2 OCTOBER 2008 For Immediate Release An exhibition that celebrates 150 years of the Kingitanga movement in the Waikato opens at Waikato Museum this Saturday [4 October].

‘Te Puna Kai: Visual tales along the Poukai trail’ is a photographic exhibition by Museum photographer Beau Morgan that captures key moments at Poukai marae throughout the region.

Te Kingitanga, the Maori King movement, started in the 1850s in response to increasing pressure on Maori to sell their land to the Crown. In 1885 Taawhiao, son of the first Maori King Potatau Te Wherowhero, first instituted Poukai (annual visitations) to console his people who were widowed, bereaved and destitute in the wake of conflicts between the military and Maori landowners. He saw the gathering of Maori at their local marae as a way to bring people together, with Poukai developing into an event which would later ensure direct consultation of the people with the King. Since the first Poukai at Whatiwhatihoe in 1885, Poukai has spread to 30 marae around the North Island from Shannon to Te Teko and the wider Waikato region. It continues today through the presence of King Tuheitia.

The Te Puna Kai exhibition has been a collaborative project for Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust and Waikato Museum, marking 150 years of Kingitanga.

Rahui Papa, coordinator for the Kingitanga celebrations says the project is “another phase in the relationship between Tainui and the Museum”.

“The Te Puna Kai exhibition is an opportunity for the community to experience a cultural pillar of the Kingitanga. We look forward to working with the Museum to offer further windows into the culture of the Waikato region.”

Beau Morgan said the project has been a challenging and rewarding experience for him. “When I started at Waikato Museum as the Imaging Technician I never considered being part of such a momentous event in our nation’s history, it has been an experience I will not forget. These photos represent a time of change for Te Kingitanga. The result is a record that will help people learn and a nation to remember.”

To mark the opening of Te Puna Kai, a powhiri will be held on Saturday morning at Waikato Museum, before the exhibition is opened to the public at 11am. During the opening, temporary road closures will occur on Grantham Street (from 7am-10.30am) and in the upper car park behind ArtsPost (from 7.30am-10am). Te Puna Kai runs until April 2009.


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