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Seminal national exhibition, He Tohu, opened today

Hon Peter Dunne

Minister of Internal Affairs

19 May 2017

Seminal national exhibition, He Tohu, opened today

He Tohu, a new permanent exhibition of three nation-building constitutional documents that shape Aotearoa New Zealand, was officially opened by Her Excellency, the Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand, today at the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa.

The exhibition, which opens to the public from Saturday 20 May, has been developed in partnership between Crown and Māori, with significant input from women’s groups.

It features:

o 1835 He Whakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni – Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of New Zealand

o 1840 Te Tiriti o Waitangi – Treaty of Waitangi

o 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition – Te Petihana Whakamana Pōti Wahine

“That He Tohu was developed as a partnership between the Crown and Māori is very important as it exemplifies the unique and enduring partnership that has shaped our nation.

“He Tohu preserves our fragile and precious documentary heritage for future generations; enhancing learning opportunities for young New Zealanders and improving access to these taonga for all New Zealanders and visitors to our country,” says Mr Dunne.

He Tohu features a state-of-the-art conservation space, inspired by a waka huia or treasure box. This document room is surrounded by an interactive area, allowing visitors to engage with the documents as never before, thanks to extensive research into the life-stories of the documents’ signatories.

“The exhibition’s on-site and on-line learning experiences and resources focus on the history of the documents and their on-going significance.

“A comprehensive curriculum-aligned schools programme has been developed by the National Library of New Zealand to support young people to connect and engage with the three documents.

“These are living documents and they have the ability to teach, inspire and move people. This is a remarkable exhibition, and I am certain those who experience it will feel the same,” Mr Dunne said.

He Tohu will be open six days a week and entry is free.

He Tohu is presented by Archives New Zealand Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga and the National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, both of which are part of the Department of Internal Affairs. The documents remain under the guardianship and care of the Chief Archivist and Archives New Zealand.


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