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Historic Flagstaff Pieces on display

MEDIA RELEASE

Pou Taharua : The Flagstaff Exhibition
Venue: Russell Museum/Te Whare Taonga o Kororareka
Open: 14 December 2009 – 14 March 2010

Powhiri: 4 pm Monday 14 December 2009

Historic Flagstaff Pieces on display

Nearly 165 years after the last of four flagpoles erected on Maiki Hill, Kororareka, was felled by Ngapuhi Rangatira Hone Heke and his warriors, remaining pieces of these pou come together in Pou Taharua : The Flagstaff Exhibition. Having lain separated in Museum and private collections throughout New Zealand, these taonga are the remaining physical evidence of 1840s disputes between Maori and British forces. Today, against the backdrop of Ngapuhi Treaty Claims convening in March 2010, Pou Taharua : The Flagstaff Exhibition pays homage to a period of conflict which significantly shaped New Zealand’s history.

Intended to display the United Tribes flag in 1834, but misappropriated in 1840 to promote the Union Jack, the original Flagstaff or pou at Kororareka became a symbol of conflict for Maori and Pakeha. Ngapuhi Rangatira Hone Heke cut it down. Sustained protest by Hone Heke saw the three replacement pou erected by British forces disposed of in the same manner. Each time, souvenir hunters made off with pieces. Some were lost.

Supported by Hone Heke’s taonga from Ngapuhi and Ngatihine taonga, flagstaff pieces from Te Papa National Museum, Auckland Museum, Coromandel Museum, Taupo Museum, and Waitangi National Trust join taonga from Russell Museum’s collection. Pou Taharua : The Flagstaff Exhibition at Russell Museum / Te Whare Taonga o Kororareka hosts the largest gathering of flagstaff pieces ever assembled in one place at one time. It is appropriate that these taonga return to rest briefly in Russell, in sight of Whakakotahitanga erected in January 1858, and still standing today on Maiki Hill.

Pou Taharua : The Flagstaff Exhibition implies two cultural perspectives to the pou erected on Maiki Hill and explores this duality from a contemporary viewpoint.

ENDS

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