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Te Papa Follow Up Action – Tell The Truth About Te Tiriti

Following the redaction of the English draft at Te Papa, we have seen an outpouring of support from the public. People are visiting and taking photos, sharing thoughts online, creating memes and posters, and even getting tattoos of the artwork. Videos of the action have been watched hundreds of thousands of times, and more than $10,000 has been donated to support those arrested.

Most importantly, this action has encouraged a nationwide conversation about Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the way the English draft is used to distort our history.

As the misleading nature of the exhibition is exposed, more people are expressing support for the demand that the English draft be removed and replaced with an accurate translation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. This request has also been made by academics, the National Iwi Chairs Forum, Network Waitangi Whangārei, and other experts.

“We’ve seen support from a variety of ages, genders, ethnicities, socio-economic conditions, professional and artistic backgrounds, and community-based and civil society groups. We’ve also seen lots of international news coverage - from Manila to France. Eyes are on what Te Papa’s next move is going to be.” Said Te Waka Hourua spokesperson, Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn.

Unfortunately, Te Papa and mainstream media continue to mislead the public by referring to the English draft as a “translation” or the “English version”.

We urge them to listen to the experts and tell our history truthfully. The English draft is not a translation, has no legal standing, and its conflation with Te Tiriti causes real harm.

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The challenge now is for Te Papa to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi by urgently implementing the following actions:

Tell the truth about Te Tiriti o Waitangi by engaging with Māori experts

Apologise to the public - Māori in particular - for creating an exhibition which, contrary to their own expert advice, has been misleading the public for over 25 years

Urge police to drop the charges against the artists involved in the action

Develop a free Te Tiriti public education programme led by Māori experts

Before the upgraded artwork is removed or altered, Te Papa needs to publicly articulate a plan of action about how it is going to address this going forward. Te Waka Hourua intends to deliver our challenge to Te Papa at 12pm, Wednesday 20 December, and we invite everyone to join us.

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