Important new project for taonga Māori at Tamaki Paenga Hira
Important new project for taonga Māori at Tamaki Paenga Hira
As part of its published 20 year vision, Future Museum, Tamaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum has today launched an important initiative to open up its stores and better understand and know more about the taonga for which it shares responsibility.
Named Te Awe, it is the first public-facing major project initiated by Future Museum.
Te Awe will help revitalise the Maori galleries and other spaces in collaboration with iwi and other communities, enhance research at the museum and provide richer experiences for visitors to the museum onsite, online and offsite.
Auckland Museum Director Roy Clare said: “The museum has relationships with iwi, hapū and whānau right across Aotearoa New Zealand and we look forward to deepening these as we work to honour the taonga that has been entrusted to our care through many generations.”
He added that Te Awe’s new, enlarged carving store space – which will be made visible to the public at times – will have an expert staff and the latest technologies so that the processes are in keeping with the museum’s responsibility to provide the best care, protection and access to the taonga. The intention is that taonga will be conserved, documented and photographed and the data will be digitised in a record that will be available to iwi, hapū, whānau, museum staff, and researchers and in many cases the public at large.
An example of the kind of work envisaged by the project will be restoration work, in collaboration with the Taipari Whānau, to restore the fabric of Hotunui wharenui, one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s significant meeting houses. Hotunui is a centrepiece in Auckland Museum’s Māori Court and has both inspired and enhanced the experience for visitors to the museum for more than nine decades. Preservation work on Hotunui will begin later this year; the public will have opportunities to view the work in progress and to learn about the traditional skills and methods being employed.
Roy Clare commented: “The Hotunui restoration demonstrates some of the potential of the Te Awe project, in that it recognises the shared interest of the museum in protecting the wharenui alongside the Taipari whānau as kaitiaki of Hotunui, Marutuahu iwi, particularly Ngāti Maru, as well as those iwi that have a connection to Hotunui.”
“It is also an opportunity to promote traditional Māori methods of restoration, alongside modern conservation techniques and for the museum and Hotunui descendants to share and learn from one another. Museum visitors will have an opportunity to view the preservation process as it occurs and to gain an appreciation of the care given to protect important taonga, like Hotunui wharenui”.
The museum has maintained the wharenui
in keeping with the best of museological practice for the
times. However, in the 1990s, it was recognised that
painting conducted in the 1950s was inappropriate to the
authenticity and mauri of the taonga. A restoration
programme commenced at that time to reinstate Hotunui to its
original scheme, but that work was not fully
Taipari whānau spokesman Paul Majurey said Hotunui descendants looked forward to the completion of the restoration project. “The whānau have been urging the museum to undertake the work for many years. We welcome the new vision of Future Museum that enables us to work together with the museum to restore Hotunui to a condition befitting our revered tupuna.”
Background information for editors:
Hotunui was constructed to
celebrate the wedding between Marutūāhu rangatira Wirope
Hotereni Taipari and Mereana Mokomoko, daughter of Ngāti
Awa chief Apanui Hamaiwaho.
Ngāti Awa tohunga carved most of the timbers at Whakatāne constructed in the late 1870s, including Mereana’s brother Wepiha Apanui, who was also the main designer and carver of Mataatua wharenui which has been recently returned and restored to its original home in Whakatāne.
In May 1878 the carvings were taken by ship to Parawai near Thames, where central structural panels were carved by Te Hotereni Taipari, father of Wirope, and the whare nui erected. In 1925, Hotunui was deposited on loan in Auckland Museum in 1925 by Eruini Taipari (son of Te Hotereni Taipari) and the Ngāti Maru people.
Te Awe describes the tufted decoration on a taiaha, a
weapon of hard wood. It also means strength, power and
influence. This name refers to the adornment on taonga in
the collection and the mana they hold. Te Awe also speaks
to the work of this project – to improve our care of the
taonga and enhance the knowledge connected with them.
In December 2012 Auckland Museum published a 20 year strategic and capital investment plan called Future Museum. The document is available on the museum’s website as an e-book. Funding for the plan is found from the museum’s Asset Replacement Reserve and successive Annual Plans, arrived at in consultation with the people of Auckland, Regional Facilities Auckland and Auckland Council.
Future Museum will guide a process of transformational change at Tamaki Paenga Hira - Auckland War Memorial Museum. It sets out a framework for how the museum will embrace He Korahi Māori (a Māori dimension), honour our collections and War Memorial role, fulfil the potential of the museum building, expand online and offsite engagement, remain sustainable and be a museum for all people and all cultures.
“Future Museum has a bicultural foundation,
derived from our Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations and
embedded in the Auckland War Memorial Museum Act 1996,”
said Mr Clare. “It embraces the principle of
kaitiakitanga which recognises that we have a shared
interest in taonga with Iwi and other communities that have
a whakapapa connection to them.
“This principle captures our responsibility to create and nurture authentic and productive partnerships in order that the best care, protection and access is given to the collections and the stories entrusted to us by Iwi and communities. It is exciting to be on such a meaningful shared journey with Iwi and other communities across the country.”