The Museum of Wellington City and Sea has an exhibition gallery devoted to the Wahine storm which occurred 10 April 1968 and holds the country’s major collection relating to the event.
In remembrance of the storm which was not only a disaster for humans with the loss of fifty one lives when the interisland ferry Wahine foundered, but it adversely affected the natural environment as well. In the week that followed the storm, hundreds of dead and damaged birds were brought into the SPCA and to the National Museum. Among them were a dozen albatross which have been lent to the Museum of Wellington City and Sea as an addition to their Wahine exhibition. The albatross skins will be on display until 30 September 2011.
Another exciting exhibition is about to open 15 April 2011 – Upside Down: Arctic Realities at the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas. The exhibition will explore the relationship of the visual development of native cultures to their arctic environment as expressed in sensory perceptions of the landscape, spiritual and physical orientation, and attitudes toward the living and imagined universe. It will comprise of significant artefacts produced by native arctic cultures, addressing important ancient periods (ranging from 1000BC to 1400AD) from major sites, including Ekven inRussia, Ipiutak inAlaska, and Old Bering Sea cultures. A selection of ceremonial masks from the modern Yup’ik, most dating from the 19th century, represent an ancient tradition carried on into modern times. To present these works in an appropriate sensory context, visual artist Doug Wheeler has been invited to create an environment within the exhibition space. He will employ light and space to elicit the extreme conditions – the brightness and darkness – of the vast arctic.
The Maori, Human figure Hei Tiki, from the Te Papa collection is integral to their presentation of this exhibition, and therefore has been lent to the Menil Collection until August 2011.
The tiki has been discovered in April 1957 by Mr Russell H. Broughton of Masterton. Found embedded in surface sand on the floor of a wind-eroded hollow in dune about a mile south of Honeycomb Rock lighthouse, and approximately 400 yards from the shoreline.