The final days for the exhibition installation is upon us. Progress has been moving along at a steady pace, as all the structural build, lighting, graphics, technological services, audio visual testing, instalment of cases and taonga are taking place.
The development of the exhibition began about 19 months ago, with the establishment of an iwi reference group and key coordination roles shared between the iwi and Te Papa to develop the exhibition concepts.
From February 2013, regular hui and weekly meetings were held to progress the ideas. Iwi expertise contributed to the content and the multimedia direction. From there the phases of the exhibition moved into developing the storylines and experience. Taonga and other objects were selected from both Te Papa and whānau. Designing the spaces, collating and approving images, considering the graphics and writing the labels in Māori and English text were progressed. The concept design and developed design phases are the most intensive, as there is a lot of people involved in preparing every aspect of the exhibition and there are so many elements to discuss and decide on.
At each stage, presentations were given to a Steering Committee approvals group representing both Te Papa and Ngāti Toa. Presentations to whānau kaitiaki, marae based and hui-a-iwi took place. Meanwhile, filming for the audio visual productions were taking place.
In the final phase, from about February 2014, a fully carved waharoa by Tana and Hermann Salzmann for the entrance to the exhibition began. Designs and taonga lists were finalised and processed, with loans staff, conservators, collection managers, mount makers and installers preparing for display. The Te Huka ā Tai Children’s Discovery Centre and the Weaving Case in the Mana Whenua exhibition were added to the development. The education and event programme for the exhibition and the marketing/promotional aspects were also finalised.
The last couple of weeks has been intense, with teams of people managing the opening, the media and publicity as well as the exhibition completion.
But we are nearly there! I think there will be quite a few teary eyes at the opening, as it will be an emotional event for sure.