June 27, 2014
Hongi Hika weapons blessed for new display
Bay of Islands elders this morning blessed taonga at Kemp House that were gifted by their ancestor Hongi Hika.
Liz Bigwood, the manager of the Kerikeri Mission Station says the two tewhatewha or long-handled fighting staffs and another long-handled weapon, a pouwhenua, were the weapons of rangatira.
She says they’re a reminder of the chiefly authority that the early mission operated under, and also of the relationship James Kemp had through the 1820s with the dominant Ngapuhi leader, which included regular breakfasts.
"Hongi was trying to instruct the missionaries on tikanga Maori and the way they did tings. Hongi never converted to Christianity and they used to debate long and hard about various aspects of belief, which is very interesting, and James Kemp captured a few of these conversations, because he was a Christian evangelical missionary who wanted to convert Maori to Christianity," she says.
Liz Bigwood says the battle-scarred taonga have been on display at Kemp house since it opened to the public, but she worked with kaumatua and hapu on new displays to ensure they get the prominence they deserve.
FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH LIZ BIGWOOD CLICK ON THE LINK
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