Masterton's Aratoi Museum puts Ngati Kahungunu taonga on display

by Sharon Stephenson / 18 August, 2017

A korere or feeding gourd from the Pukengaki area (Auckland Museum).

Prized 19th-century artefacts are among iwi treasures that have returned to the Wairarapa.

It’s taken more than 110 years but an elaborately carved wahaika (hand weapon) has finally come home – one of 200 items on display in Te Marae o Rongotaketake: Redressing our Kahungunu History, at Masterton’s Aratoi Museum until September 3.

Exhibition curator Haami Te Whaiti says this is the largest collection of Ngati Kahungunu taonga ever assembled. “Most were sourced from the museum’s own collection and from around New Zealand, but we’ve also brought back items such as the wahaika from the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles.” 

The wahaika was carved from celluloid (a substitute for bone) by Jacob Heberley in the late 19th century for Greytown’s Papawai Marae, before being presented to the 5th Earl of Ranfurly, Uchter Knox, who served as Governor-General in New Zealand from 1897-1904. It was later sold to the Wellcome Trust in London, and then given to the Fowler Museum in the 1960s, among a collection of some 30,000 pieces from all over the world. Other artefacts on display at Aratoi include waka, traditional cloaks, contemporary works and 11 Gottfried Lindauer portraits.

Ngati Kahungunu is the third-largest tribal group in New Zealand. Work on cataloguing the taonga began four years ago, and the exhibition aligns with the signing of the iwi’s treaty settlement deed for 2.5 million acres, one of the largest land claims in the North Island.

“It’s been a 30-year process, but we are pleased to be able to end it at the museum,” says Te Whaiti, one of the settlement negotiators.

He says the exhibition focuses on the future, as well as the past. “It’s about who we are as Kahungunu, about colonisation and the taking of our land, as well as our future aspirations.

This was published in the September 2017 issue of North & South.

Latest

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – movie review
89994 2018-04-25 00:00:00Z Movies

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society …

by Russell Baillie

A tale of bookworms in occupied Guernsey makes for a safe film.

Read more
Should we bring our fallen soldiers home?
90004 2018-04-25 00:00:00Z Television

Should we bring our fallen soldiers home?

by Fiona Rae

One of our most successful writers visited six countries to speak to the families of those buried in Commonwealth war graves.

Read more
This may be the most beautiful natural history documentary ever
90022 2018-04-25 00:00:00Z Television

This may be the most beautiful natural history doc…

by Fiona Rae

Will Smith and Darren Aronofsky come together to create a jaw-dropping documentary about Planet Earth.

Read more
Lest they forget: Anzac books for children and young readers
90033 2018-04-25 00:00:00Z Books

Lest they forget: Anzac books for children and you…

by Ann Packer

In time for Anzac Day, books for younger readers make war stories easy to digest.

Read more
Scout cafe owner Roger Liu opens Woolfy’s, a new place to eat in east Auckland
90050 2018-04-24 14:22:44Z Auckland Eats

Scout cafe owner Roger Liu opens Woolfy’s, a new p…

by Kate Richards

East Auckland gets a new cafe, Woolfy's, from the brains behind Scout in Torbay.

Read more
How to find your family's Anzac history online
90042 2018-04-24 13:16:14Z History

How to find your family's Anzac history online

by Peter Griffin

As Anzac Day looms there’s an opportunity to delve into millions of World War I documents, which are available for a limited time.

Read more
Grey District's retiring mayor Tony Kokshoorn, the accidental author
90027 2018-04-24 11:31:52Z Profiles

Grey District's retiring mayor Tony Kokshoorn, the…

by Clare de Lore

Grey District's long-serving mayor, Tony Kokshoorn, is retiring from politics next year. We look back at a 2016 profile from the Listener archives.

Read more
Win a double pass to An Evening with Hillary Rodham Clinton in Auckland
90019 2018-04-24 09:27:39Z Win

Win a double pass to An Evening with Hillary Rodha…

by Noted

An illuminating insight into Secretary Clinton's experience as a woman in politics, you could be seeing her live at Auckland's Spark Arena on May 7.

Read more