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'All at Sea' at the National Library Gallery

For immediate release
4 November 2005

19 November 2005 * 19 March 2006

Siu ki Moana: reaching across the Pacific
Aotearoa New Zealand and the Kingdom of Tonga 1880-1950

An exhibition about the rich shared history of people and cultures that moved across the Pacific between New Zealand and the Kingdom of Tonga will open at the National Library Gallery next month.

Siu Ki Moana: reaching across the Pacific, Aotearoa New Zealand and the Kingdom of Tonga 1880-1950 is introduced by stories about the travels of two young men in the early19th century, one who sailed from New Zealand to Tonga and one who travelled from Tonga to New Zealand.

The exhibition includes photographs and documents from the vast collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library as well as material loaned from museums and libraries.
Many items on show have come from private collections * photographs and mementoes found on walls, in cupboards and on bedside tables in family homes.

The exhibition takes its name, Siu ki Moana, from a Tongan phrase that literally means to travel, to sail, to fly over deep water. Curator Lois Webster says that this phrase 'is often used in the context of fishermen going out to the open ocean, beyond the lagoons and reefs, in search of the big catch, and it is used to describe the sea bird's flight from island to distant island.

'Venturing out into deep water, of course, comes with risks. One may meet great difficulty; one may never return. Yet the long stretches of the South Pacific ocean have for centuries lured traders, adventurers, scientists, sailors, defenders and lovers. It is the yearning for that distant shore * always looking backward, always looking forward to the world that awaits them at the other end of the ocean's swell * that is celebrated in this exhibition.'

Siu ki Moana has been organised in partnership with the Wellington Tongan Community. Local artists have put together a series of 'Tongan Days' and invite the public to join them as they demonstrate important aspects of Tongan arts: faiva (performance arts), tufunga (materials arts) and fakamea'a (fine arts).

The 'Tongan Days' will take place in the Gallery on the following Saturdays from 1.00pm-3.00pm.
10 December * Tufunga tatongitongi (Wood-carving)
28 January * Koka'anga (Tapa-making)
18 February * Lalanga (Weaving)
18 March * We farewell the exhibition with a selection of Tongan faiva (performance arts)

Siu ki Moana will be on show until 19 March 2006. (Holiday hours: The Gallery will be closed between 24 December and 6 January.)

Shipping Out
Early colonial voyages to New Zealand
From the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library

An insight into what some of the early emigrants experienced to get to this country will be revealed in the National Library's exhibition Shipping Out, which opens on Saturday 19 November.

The exhibition focuses on the sea voyages of emigrants to New Zealand from the 1840s onwards, with paintings and watercolours of some of the actual ships and the harbour towns they arrived at * like Wellington, Lyttelton, New Plymouth, and Nelson. Included are works by eminent colonial artists such as Charles Heaphy, William Fox, and CD Barraud, along with shipboard diaries, many beautifully illustrated, with stories of the writers' extraordinary experiences on board. Also on show will be some early maps, with shipping routes indicated, and items such as original passenger tickets, and posters and documents relating to emigration and the New Zealand Company.

Some fascinating works from the mid-19th century, illustrating exotic ports of call such as Cuba, Rio, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, will also be included in the exhibition.

Shipping Out will be on show until 19 March, but will be closed between 24 December and 6 January.


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