September 26, 2019
Cook taonga give Tairāwhiti iwi window into past
Tairāwhiti iwi are this week welcoming home from the United Kingdom 37 treasured artefacts that left Aotearoa 250 years ago.
The taonga, which include many of the items taken, traded and gifted with the crew of Captain Cook's ship endeavour and Raiatea chief Tupaia in October 1769, will form the basis of an exhibition at the Tairāwhiti Musuem.
They are on loan from the British Museum, the University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford and the Great Northern Museum: Hancock in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Huia Pihema, the chair of Hei Kanohi Ora, a Tairāwhiti Museum governance group representing Tūranganui a Kiwa mana whenua and Te Aitanga a Hauiti, says the taonga in the exhibition Tū te Waihanga: a recognition of creative genius are not just the physical manifestations of the people who live in the region 250 years ago but a vehicle for dialogue and healing.
It's also an opportunity for Tairāwhiti artists, carvers, weavers and the wider community to example the taonga and wānanga who their ancestors were before contact with Europeans.
Tū te Waihanga, which is independent of official Tuia 250 events, will open with a pōhiri in Kelvin Park next to the museum on October 7 and run for a year.
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