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Whanganui Iwi Exhibition At Te Papa

27 November 2003



Te Awa Tupua - The Whanganui Iwi Exhibition will open at Te Papa on Saturday 29 November 2003. In partnership with Te Papa, the Whanganui iwi present the stories of their past and the challenges and hopes for their present and future, supported and enhanced by taonga (treasures and objects), photographs, video footage, and computer interactives.

Te Awa Tupua is built on the whakataukï (proverb) 'E rere kau mai te awa nui mai i te kahui maunga ki Tangaroa - ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au.' 'The great river flows from the mountain clan to Tangaroa - I am the river, the river is me.' The exhibition shows what the river means to the Whanganui iwi in both the physical and spiritual sense.

The exhibition focuses on three time periods: the pre-European traditional period, the period of European contact and colonisation until the present, and the future. It presents key elements of the river life and culture of the Whanganui iwi, whose ancestral lands follow the Whanganui River - the longest navigable river in New Zealand. This river runs from the mountains of Ruapehu, Tongariro, and Ngauruhoe to the sea.

Important issues in the iwi's history are examined, including how the river and the iwi have been affected by changes to the lands bordering the river, the use of the river's resources, as well as the issues around Moutoa Gardens, known to Mäori as Pakaitore. The exhibition concludes withwith an overview of where the iwi are heading and includes a look at the maintenance of te reo Mäori, marae-based initiatives, and the future of education.

A feature of iwi exhibitions is the presence of kaumätua (elders) at Te Papa during the time the exhibition runs. A kaumatua and kuia from the Whanganui iwi will be involved in the exhibition and will also carry out ceremonial duties on Te Papa's marae. Te Otinga Te Pehi Waretini and Piki Waretini will hold these positions initially.

Te Awa Tupua - The Whanganui Iwi Exhibition is sponsored by Wanganui District Council and Horizons Regional Council. Horizons Regional Council Chairman, Mr Chris Lester, said that Horizons see their sponsorship as a first stage in strengthening their relationship with Whanganui iwi and a unique opportunity to promote environmental education through understanding the land management practices of the past.

'Wanganui District Council is proud to support the Te Awa Tupua exhibition at Te Papa and to represent Wanganui by joining with iwi at the opening of this significant exhibition,' Wanganui Mayor Chas Poynter said.

Te Awa Tupua - The Whanganui Iwi Exhibition is the fourth in a continuing series of iwi exhibitions at Te Papa. These began in 1997 with Te Atiawa iwi, followed by exhibitions from Te Aupouri and most recently Ngäi Tühoe iwi.

The opening weekend features a free line-up of events and entertainment, all from the Wanganui region. See the attached programme for details.



Saturday 29 November

11.00am - 11.30am: Te Matapihi Kapa Haka Wellington Foyer, Level 2.

11.45am - 12.15pm: Ruia Aperahama Well known for 'What's The Time Mr Wolf' from Once Were Warriors, Ruia performs eight much-loved waiata. The Marae, Level 4.

12.15pm - 12.45pm: Te Rau Kotahi Winners of the Aotea Super 12 Regionals 2002 and placed at the 2002 National Kapahaka Super 12 Competitions. The Marae, Level 4.

12.45pm - 1.15pm: Ruia Aperahama Ruia performs another eight well-known waiata. The Marae, Level 4.

1.45pm - 3.00pm: Whanganui Historic Films A special chance to see historic films from the Whanganui region. Soundings Theatre, Level 2.

Sunday 30 November

11.00am - 2.00pm: Te Matapihi Variety Showcase The Marae, Level 4.


Te Roopu Kapa Haka O Te Matapihi

Multi-award-winning kapa haka from descendants of the Whanganui River from Taumarunui in the north to the Whanganui sea board in the south. Manaia Singers Top-notch entertainment from Joe and Makere Haami, veterans of the Australasian circuit. Paradise Singing duo, Willy Matthews and Lynaire Simon.

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