Te Māori – 25th year anniversary

Te Māori – 25th year anniversary

Te Kauru-o-te-rangi
Detail of Te Maori Series: Post Figure - Poutokomanawa - Te Kauru-o-te-rangi, circa 1979, photographed by Brian Brake (1927–1988), Hawke's Bay. Gift of Mr Raymond Wai-Man Lau, 2001. Te Papa (B.069026)

This year marks the 25th year since the opening of the Te Māori exhibition at the Metropolitan museum in New York, 10th September, 1984. The exhibition was an overnight media and public sensation. It was heralded as an international success and continued its tour over 1985-86,  to the Saint Louis Art Museum, the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco, and the Field Museum in Chicago.  Scholar Professor Hirini Mead described the opening in New York as such:

“By the time…we had finished our karakia, the frenzied clicking of the cameras of the international press present at the ceremony assured us that this was a historical moment, a break through of some significance, a grand entrance into the world of art. We had suddenly become visible.” (Mead 1984b: 24-5)

Te Māori returned home as ‘Te Māori-Te Hokinga Mai’, 1986-1987 to tour the National museum in Wellington, Otago Museum, City Art Gallery, Christchurch and Auckland City Art Gallery. The exhibition consisted of 174 taonga from different tribal areas that were in N.Z museums throughout the country.  38 taonga came from the National museum, now Te Papa. Several of these taonga are now on display in Toi Te Papa, which feature the significance of Te Māori in terms of the (re)perception of Māori art.

Te Māori is widely acclaimed as an exhibition that changed the way that museums and art galleries interpreted and managed taonga Māori. Of importance was the acknowledgement that there was a living cultural dimension to Māori ‘artefacts’ held in their collections. This was a paradigmatic shift in museology that was also reflected in the wider context of Māori educational and political activism of the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Many Māori who currently work in museums and art galleries have, in some way, been influenced by Te Māori. A personal experience was in 1987, when the exhibition returned to the Auckland City Art Gallery as one of the homecoming venues after its successful tour in the United States. I came ‘face to face’ with an ancestor, Te Kauru o Te Rangi. Te Kauru fell at the battle of Te Pakake in 1824, along with other close relations and important chiefs of the Hawke’s Bay region of Heretaunga. Te Kauru, his father Te Hauwaho, uncle Te Humenga and cousin Pouamate, all died in this battle. They were later represented in perpetuity as poutokomanawa, ancestral carvings or centre ‘posts’ for a tribal meeting house, now residing on display in the Hawkes Bay museum and Art Gallery, Napier. For the families associated with these taonga, agreeing to Te Kauru travelling as part of the Te Māori exhibition was quite a momentous decision. There are a number of poutokomanawa, of related style and age, in museums throughout the world. One day they may come together, if not physically, perhaps digitally-for all their descendants to learn about and appreciate.

Like many Māori, I imagine that Te Māori was a unique and important event when we as descendants became absorbed and embraced by the presence of our ancestors. I certainly know that the exhibition had a lasting and profound effect on me, and some of my other whanaunga (relations), enough to encourage us on a life long journey learning about our heritage and genealogy.

Awhina Tamarapa

Curator, Māori


  1. Hello Trevor wilson. My name is ariana, you replied to my mother donna madden on the Te papa blog on the 7 of January 2021. I was wondering if you could tell me more or show photos of my whakapapa. If you would prefer to email then that would be great too.
    I would love to hear back from you !

  2. Hi everyone, my name is Donna Elizabeth Madden. I am the 1st born daughter of Juanita Wilson. Daughter of Kingsford James Wilson & Lorna Elizabeth Poole. Son to Wirihana Whenuariri & Annie Kathleen (Kathleen) Breakwell. I am trying to fill in the gaps of notes I have. Can anyone please help me connect the dots, I would appreciate it so much.

    1. Hi there, I am Trevor Wilson, son of Terence David Wilson who is Juanita’s brother.
      I’m keen to share information, photos and stories with extended family.
      phone or text 021 0889 0698

  3. I have recently learned that Horiwia Te Ihu Rakau was the granddaughter of Rongomaiwahine… does anyone know who know the link is?

  4. hi there my uncle is terrence wilson, brother of my mothers. my grandfather wirihana whenuariri,any connection to yourself?

    1. Hi Zan, you are definitely related.
      I am Trevor Wilson, son of Terence David Wilson who is Juanita’s brother.
      I’m keen to share information, photos and stories with extended family.

  5. Tena ra koutou. My name is Wikitoria and I have since found that my gr8 gr8 karani was PURU TE KAURU m. TATU HOROPAPERA. Does anyone know this Tupuna Whaea and what line Te Kaura she descends from? I have the names HOHEPA TE KAURA m. MAATA KAHUIMANU TE HANENE…Tupuna born before 1896…these appear to be the parents of TE AIHURANGI HOHEPA TE KAURA b.1869…could Puru be his sister to above? Thankyou in advance for any help.

  6. Hi Glen,

    I think you are my Uncle as i am ross wilson oldest daughter, Angela.
    I saw the name and looked at the family names and it clicked. Im looking for photos and stories regarding my relations and would love it if you could give me any pointers! The world is so small but connected 🙂

  7. Oh my….Kia Ora all…. My grandfather is James Paetai Kaimoana Wilson and is buried in Whakake…. Could I get more information on the reunion please? Email Lyn at jalcol04@bigpond.com …… Cheers Lyn

  8. kia ora whanau just have to make an adjustment on my nans name its Baronia Martha Namana

  9. kia ora whanau ,my name is michelle martha hadfield my maiden name is Thompson i come off the same line .my great grandmother is Maata Kahuimanu Te Kauru she married Ihaka Whatarau Namana and they had my nan who was Martha Baronia namana who married owen thompson. they had 5 boys and one girl who died as a baby. My father is third in that line his name George David Thompson. Kia Ora nice to see some whanau names

  10. Kia ora te whanau, my name is Te Waata Reid Greening and my Grandmother is Emma Te Kauru, Yes the reunion is at the end of this year in Nuhaka . contact me on greening@slingshot.co.nz

  11. Kia Ora
    My name is Bernie Murray MacGregor Campbell.Hopaea Te Kauru was my
    Great Great Grandmother, she married John Campbell Senior.
    Her son my great grandfather was John Barton Campbell who married Hana Taiti Patereti Bartlett. My Grandmother their daughter was Susan (Huhana) Campbell
    who married my grandfather Walter Murray MacGregor.
    I’d like to hear from my long lost relations to compare whakapapa’s as this is the line that I’m working on at the moment. I’m so sorry that I miss out on this reunion, but maybe next time.
    My e mail is pcampbell@paradise.net.nz.


  12. I’ve just come across this site and am smiling at all the cuzzies who have made contact. However,Te One, you are the one with whom I would like to talk with about our tipuna Hopaea Te Kauru.The others I will (hopefully) see at the reunion, except Karen who I understand is overseas.So would you contact me asap?

    1. Hi Perth.

      Would you by any chance have had a sister Arlette Josephine Brown (nee Maaka)?

  13. Tena koutou, ko Kylie Taggart toku ingoa i to whakapapa back to Horiwia Te Ihurakau my Grandfather was Terence Wilson his father Whenuariri Wilson his father Paetai Kaimoana Wilson his father James Paetai Kaimoana Wilson Who Married Horiwia Te Ihurakau

    1. Hi Kylie… James Yorkie Wilson married Horiwia Te Ihurakau. One of their sons was Wiremu Kaimoana Wilson who had a son James Paetai Kaimoana Wilson – he had a son Paetai Jnr who was alos known as Dice.
      Would love to hear from you

  14. Kia Ora koutou im also a descendant of Te Kauru o te rangi, My Tipuna was a sister to Te Aihurangi her name was Hopaea Te Kauru

  15. @Glen,kia ora whanau,concerning Tekauru Oterangi=Merihinenuia is the whakapapa i have as yours but for Tamawheti his wife as you have Te Maroate i have Rongowhatia who is Matenga Tukareaho mother so Matenga and Tekauru are half brother”s as i see now…ka pai.i also thought that Hohepa Tekauru had 2 wives Maata Tehanene a daughter and Heni Kemera their Tama’s Rameka an Tamawheti???so thank you all now i can make some corrections.Glen im also a Wirihana/Wilson my koro’s were Wiremu kaimoana his son Paetai kaimoana an my grdfather Paetai jamesjnr Wiri/wilson they decsend from Horiwia Te ihurakau kaimoana and James Wilson..i decsend from tamawheti through my grdmother side… her mother was Hera Tehauerangi her father Iopa and mokopuna of Haami-Matenga-Tamawheti-Teaihurangi an so back..kia ora im also aware of the Wirihana/Takarangi ingoa…kia ora…

    1. Hi Anne, You seem to be onto whakapapa. Do you know what happened to Te Kauru Ote Rangi and where is he buried. Doing some research. I am a campbell from Nuhaka Cheers

  16. My Grandfather, Leonard Carter, found the Pare displayed at Auckland Museum ( Ethnology no: 6189 ) on his farm in Patetonga in 1917. Would you please verify as to whether this piece travelled as part of the Te Maori Exhibition to the Metropolitan Museum in NY. I would appreciate any further information you could provide me with regarding this piece. Many thanks

  17. Kia ora whanau
    Yes, Tracy Rongomai is correct in saying that Te Aihurangi became known as Hohepa also Hohepa Smith is another.
    By the way the reunion is set down for the end of December 2012

  18. My grandmother was Horiana , Aunty Keitas younger sister and Aunty messines(Mussie’s) older sister. She married my Grandfather the Very Rev John G Laughton.
    My Grandparents had 5 childern, Mary, John , Jean , Kathleen and James. I am the oldest daughter of Kathleen who married Keith Cameron. I had the good fortune to meet most of my Grandmother’s Brothers and sisters before they passed away.

  19. Kia ora

    My Kuia was Keita Pomare Te Kauru, she is a sister to Rameka and Tamawheti. You didnt get our koro’s name wrong Tracey, Hohepa is a name is bacame know as, when he joined the Mormon Church. I was lucky enough to know some of the Nannies ( Ramekas sisters ) and Nanny Messines stated that was how her father came to be know as Hohepa. Personally I love to call him Te Aihurangi. Wow it truely is a small world, and like you My family and I are also looking forward to the up and coming Te Kauru Reunion. Big Kia Ora to you and Glen…..:)

  20. well hello again …jus spoke to my cuz and oops i got it wrong…
    Te Aihurangi Te Kauru and Heeni Campbell is my koro Rameka’s parents and Tamawheti is his brother….so your mum and my dad are 1st cuzzies…wow wat a small world 🙂

  21. Kia ora ano
    jus wondering glen..my grandfathers name was Rameka Te Kauru and his father was hohepa Te Kauru jus wondering if know anything or my koro brothers and sisters cause he left nuhaka wen he was young???
    cheers Tracy

  22. kia ora all
    I am currently seeking info about Te Kauru o te Rangi and came across this site. He is also my ancestor. I never knew there were 2. I assumed the one at Te Maori was the one i am related to??? but as i look at your whakapapa Glen we have the same my uncles were named after our Tupuna from that area.. one being Tamawheti and my dads name was Hohepa Te Aihurangi Te Kauru.. i have never met any whanau from those ways as i only jus found out a few years back that we are from there i always followed my kui whakapapa…but now im tryin to find out everything… i do know that there is a Te Kauru reunion in 2013 and i am goin to try and make that…
    So thanks and does anyone hav any info on the other Te Kauru o te Rangi. Wud love to hear more..
    Cheers Tracy

  23. Kia ora Glen
    Thank you for your email. Very interesting to share whakapapa. I’ll have to ask my whänau further to this. Ngä mihi ki a koe.

  24. Kia ora Awhina
    Just woundering if Stormy descends from the same Te Kauru O Te Rangi (The Treaty signee) that I descend from as he is not the same that was sent with the ‘Te Maori’ exhibition.
    I have inclued whakapapa for Te Kauru O Te Rangi that I descend from down to my mother

    Ko Takitimu te waka.
    Ko Maumaukai te maunga.
    Ko Wai Tirohia te awa.
    Ko Kahungunu te iwi.
    Ko Ngati Te Rangi te hapu.
    Tihei mauri ora

    Tamawheti = Te Maroaute
    Te Kauru O Te Rangi = Merehineiniua
    Hohepa Te Kauru = Maata Kahuimanu Te Hanene
    Te Aihurangi Te Kauru = Heeni Campbel
    Tamawheti Te Kauru =Kataraina Winiata
    Hinemana Eneti Te Kauru

    1. Tena koe whanaunga Glen Wow its been 6 years now since i first posted on here and since then have discovered a little bit more of who i am 🙂 thank you so much for you input.

      Yes this is me

      Te Aihurangi Te Kauru = Heeni Campbell
      Ema Te Kauru = Henare “Dempsy” TeWira Greening

      Grandpa Dempsy was her only issue.

      I do have a question to put out there? Just wondering if Heeni Campbell is of the same Campbells from the east coast? Well actually if both of them were from up there? I have seen the signature of a Chief Te-Kauru-o-te-Rangi on the Treaty for the Tairawhiti district. Can anyone help?

    2. Sorry just s correction to my last post.

      Heeni Campbell/Kemara = Henry Rangi Greening

      They had my grandfather

      Henare “Dempsy” TeWira Greening

    3. Sorry another correction

      Heni Campbell/Kemara = Te Aihurangi Hohepa Te Kauru

      Ema Te Kauru = Henry Rangi Greening

      My grandfather Dempsy

    4. Sorry another correction

      Heni Campbell/Kemara = Te Aihurangi Hohepa Te Kauru

      Ema Te Kauru = Henry Rangi Greening

      My grandfather Dempsy

  25. Kia ora Stormy
    Thank you for your email. Te Kauru-o-te- Rangi was the son of Te Hauwaho and Hineiaia. I’m not sure if Te Kauru had children before he died at Te Pakake. I descend from Oneone, who was coming back from a tangihanga by waka with his children Taihoa and Tärehä (my great-great-great grandfather)when they saw the pa of Te Pakake being taken. Contact me at Te Papa and we can talk further.

  26. just wondering which of the two te kauru o te rangi this one is???? one died with no children. also what do you know of this te kauru o te rangi and his story? i am a descendant and unfortunatly the kaumatua that could fill in my whakapapa sadly passed on i would love to hear what you know

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