Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


He Tohu official opening, National Library of New Zealand

Hon Peter Dunne
Minister of Internal Affairs

19 May 2017 Speech

He Tohu official opening

National Library of New Zealand, Wellington

Tēnā koutou katoa

I am pleased to welcome you to the opening of this extraordinary exhibition.

At the centre of He Tohu are three taonga which have played a significant role in shaping our nation:

• He Whakaputanga, the 1835 Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of the New Zealand;

• the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi; and

• the 1893 Women’s Suffrage Petition.

I would especially like to welcome and acknowledge:

• Their Excellencies the Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, Governor-General of New Zealand and Sir David Gascoigne;

• the Honourable Paula Bennett, Acting Prime Minister and Minister for Women and Tourism;

• in Kingi Tuheitia’s absence, members of the Kīngitanga;

• my other Ministerial colleagues who are here today; and

• Ta Tumu te Heuheu, esteemed rangitira and members of the He Tohu Iwi Leader Partner Group who I have worked with throughout the development of this exhibition – it has been an extraordinary experience, and a privilege, to partner with you on this journey.

I am very proud that He Tohu was developed as a partnership between the Crown and Māori.

It is important that this partnership is an enduring one that lasts far beyond today.

I am truly humbled by sheer volume of skill, knowledge and expertise that has been contributed to making He Tohu a reality.

It has been a three year journey, with many different aspects that needed to be woven arefully together.

Some of these threads will be visible when you walk through He Tohu – be it through the design of the space or in the treasure trove of information available on the interactive displays.

There are lots of other threads that will not be so visible – things like:

• the advice and wisdom which was so graciously shared by the He Tohu Women’s Suffrage Petition Advisory Group and Māori Technical Advisory Group; and

• the many years of work from preservation specialists at Archives New Zealand and the National Library to ensure that the taonga will endure for at least the next
500 years.

I had the privilege of being shown around the exhibition space a few weeks ago and was especially moved by the document room, which is enveloped by rimu panelling.

The undulating shape is inspired by a waka huia, a Māori treasure container.

In the forest, mature rimu are home and protector to many species of flora and fauna – from plants that grow in their upper canopies, to birds that roost in their branches.

The rimu trees from which this panelling was made were blown down in the Kahurangi National Park a few years ago during cyclone Ita.

While these trees are no longer able to protect the plants and creatures of the forest as they once did, I think it is fitting that some of them can continue their role of protector – this time for three of our most important constitutional taonga.

It reflects that these are living documents – they have a life of their own, and the ability to teach, inspire and move people.

The opportunity to be up close with the real things is powerful – and brings all of us closer to the people who signed them.

Many people around our country will be able to make direct connection to these documents – particularly to the Women’s Suffrage Petition, due to the large proportion of women at that time who signed it.

I have my own connection – I recently discovered that my great-grandmother signed the Women’s Suffrage Petition, and I feel very proud of this.

As well as displaying the documents themselves, we are hopeful that He Tohuwill help us to learn a lot more about the thousands of ordinary women who championed social change in New Zealand through signing the petition.

I truly believe that this is a remarkable exhibition, and hope you will feel the same.

Thank you again for being here today.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Environment Commission: Time For Historic Step For Climate Change

Dr Wright has recommended a new Act that is similar to the UK Climate Change Act...

A similar law in New Zealand would put emissions targets into law, and require the setting of carbon budgets that would act as stepping stones towards the targets. It would also establish a high-powered independent expert group that would crunch the numbers and provide objective advice. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Act, The Centre-Right’s Perennial Ugly Duckling

Act endures, despite its thoroughly fossilized views: it is the only lighthouse still shining the beams of 1980s market fundamentalism out into the electoral darkness. More>>


Immigration: Changes To Temporary Work Visas Confirmed

“The consultation process resulted in around 170 submissions and today’s announcement shows the Government has listened to the feedback raised by employers and industry, particularly in the regions,” Mr Woodhouse says. More>>


Rental WOF Passes 2nd Reading: Little Bill Goes A Long Way

The strong call from the public for warm, dry, healthy rentals has helped the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill to pass its second reading, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. More>>


Incomes & Housing Costs: No Signs Of Real Improvement For Poorest Families

CPAG: The latest Household Incomes Survey report shows that not everyone is better off, despite that income poverty seems to have lessened since the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. More>>


Turei To Be Interviewed By MSD: Gordon Campbell On The Real Truth Deficit In Welfare

It has been astonishing to see the amount of time and energy being spent on what Greens co-leader Metiria Turei did or didn’t do properly as a beneficiary back in the early 1990s – as compared to how little time and energy is being put into the point of her personal example. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election