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Whiti Te Rā to open at Pātaka

21 May, 2018

Ngāti Toa kaumatua Taku Parai next to Te Rauparaha’s famous mere, Tuhiwai.

The story of Ngāti Toa and Ka Mate is coming home.

Whiti Te Rā: The Story of Ngāti Toa Rangatira ran in Te Papa for more than two years, but has been set up at Porirua’s Pātaka Art + Museum and opens on 27 May.

It will be in place at Pātaka for four years.

The tribe’s kaumatua Taku Parai says he was happy the treasures and stories would not be gathering dust in a museum storage room.

“What better place to have everything displayed than right here in Pātaka?” he said.

“It allows the people of our community, and all the visitors to this gallery, to enjoy it.”

A documentary by filmmaker Wiremu Grace, Ka Mate, will also be playing, informing visitors on Ngāti Toa’s links to the haka, now used by the All Blacks.

The three sections of the exhibition show Ngāti Toa’s origins and migration from Kawhia in 1821; the tribe’s rise in the the 1820s and 1830s, and setbacks under colonialism; and the redress for injustices in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Installation of the exhibition involves structural lighting, graphics for interactive displays and cases for important taonga.

Pātaka history curator Alice Masters said it was a “magical” display that would be a special addition to the museum.

Some taonga not seen in the Te Papa exhibition would be on show in Pātaka, such as Te Rauparaha’s pipe and a kaitaka paepaeroa (cloak) which was worn by Tamihana Te Rauparaha (Te Rauparaha’s son), which is part of the Te Papa collection, along with objects from Porirua whanau.

“It’s a coming together of taonga that really tell a story,” Ms Masters said.

There will also be significant maihi or barge boards from the front of the former marae in Takapuwahia on display.

Porirua Mayor Mike Tana says Whiti Te Rā: The Story of Ngāti Toa Rangatira will be yet another reason to visit Pātaka.

“There has been some major renovation work there and it’s great to now see the exhibitions open,” he said.

“The Ngāti Toa exhibition is something everyone in Porirua should see, to get more understanding of the mana whenua and how important they are in this area’s history.

“The exhibition is something truly special, with taonga and stories that are beautifully displayed.”

Caption: Ngāti Toa kaumatua Taku Parai next to Te Rauparaha’s famous mere, Tuhiwai.


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