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Tuvalu Treasures on Display

Talofa! Otago Museum is helping Waitaki’s Tuvaluan community celebrate Tuvalu language week on Tuesday 1 October at the Oamaru public library.

Anne Harlow, Collections Manager, Humanities and Shannah Rhynard-Geil, Conservator, will be travelling up to Oamaru with some of Otago Museum’s collection items from the island nation to share with locals.

This year, Otago Museum has been forging a stronger connection with our region’s Pasifika communities. This began in March with the Pasifika Community Day, a Museum event where a group of Pasifika representatives explored ways in which they could develop engagement and future collaborations with Otago Museum. As a result of this initiative, the Museum is supporting various Pacific communities with their celebrations of culture and language. The first of these events was the Kiribati communities’, Mauri!, a showcase of traditional song, dance, and language at the Museum in July. The Tuvaluan Language Week will be the second event to be supported by the Otago Museum team.

Otago Museum is guardian of one of the finest Pasifika collections in New Zealand, with more than 20 000 items, representing all of the Pacific Island nations, housed in our galleries and stores. The Pacific Cultures gallery is a treasure house of taoka telling the story of the culture and history of Pasifika peoples.

“It is both an honour and a responsibility for the Museum to share these items with the communities they came from”, Anne Harlow said. “Going to Oamaru is another wonderful opportunity to enable access to our collection, and find out more about how the items were used in daily life. This sharing and exchange of knowledge, as a result of these connections with our Pasifika communities, has been of real value in extending our own knowledge of the collection items.”

On display in the Oamaru library will be a variety of items, among them, fish hooks, canoe paddles, adzes, and bowls. Ms Rhynard-Geil and Ms Harlow will be available to talk about the items and answer questions from the public. There will also be space for members of the Tuvaluan community to bring cultural items from their homes to show the wider community and discuss these with the collections professionals.

The week-long language celebration will include cultural performances, arts and crafts exhibitions and traditional food making and tasting. Join the Tuvaluan community in Oamaru, and learn more about this fascinating Pasifika culture.

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