Whiti Te Rā! The Story of Ngāti Toa Rangatira, the next iwi exhibition at Te Papa, is opening on the 14th June.
As we work up to the final two weeks before opening, it’s time to catch our breath for a minute and appreciate the hard work and talent that has gone into creating what will be a uniquely dramatic and contemporary exhibition. The Te Papa team have worked hard to support Ngāti Toa’s vision and it’s really exciting now, as we count down to the opening on the 14th June.
The point of difference with iwi exhibitions is that it is a forum for iwi to tell their stories and share with the world what is unique and important to them. This is a real and significant way in which the bicultural mandate of Te Papa is expressed. It is also a good example of how the mana taonga principle can operate, providing opportunities for whānau, hapū and iwi to contribute to the work of Te Papa in meaningful ways.
It’s been a huge privilege working with the iwi reference group and learning about the journey of Ngāti Toa Rangatira through time, right up to today. We hope that visitors who come to the exhibition will learn about the history of this dynamic iwi and their role in the settling of the Wellington/Kāpiti region and beyond.
Without giving too much away, the exhibition tells the stories of Ngāti Toa Rangatira in their struggle to maintain their unique autonomy over time. The segments follow a sequence; from the origins of the tribe, to the 1820’s migrations from Kāwhia to the Kāpiti region, where men, women and children walked nearly 500 kms, to the shifts in power during the tumultuous era of political and social change, to today’s struggle for recognition of past grievances and Treaty Claims settlement, the significance of the Ka Mate haka, to Ngāti Toa celebrating their people of the past, present and future.
The exhibition has a number of AV’s developed with talented iwi members and significant taonga a iwi held by Te Papa and within the iwi. We hope that people- no matter where they are from, will be inspired, feel uplifted and appreciate Ngāti Toa and Māori culture from this exhibition.
In association with Whiti Te Ra! we are also exhibiting work from contemporary Ngāti Toa artists and schools in Te Huka ā Tai Children’s Discovery Place, and the weaving case in the Mana Whenua exhibition. There is a fantastic public event programme planned that will appeal to everyone of all ages.
I am proud to be part of a great team of people and an organisation that commits to sharing real life stories and events in interesting and dynamic ways, and the empowerment of people.
More to come, as we experience the count down to opening and the 2.5 years ahead!
Kia ora koutou