Gavin's on-the-road diary - June 2013 

Gavin Reedy

Ngā mihi ki a koutou te whānau whānui.

We are heading into June already and the year is a blur of activity. We have already completed two workshops for iwi, as well as a whole host of other projects, seminars, and the Museums Aotearoa conference.

The workshops were double kaupapa (themed) workshops. In March, Taumata o te Rā marae in Halcombe (Ngāti Manomano) was the venue for a paper conservation workshop tutored by Vicki-Anne Heikell, with a taonga conservation component tutored by Rangi Te Kanawa.

At these types of workshops, whānau are invited to bring along their paper taonga, such as treasured photographs, diaries, family bibles, and whakapapa (genealogy) papers, and also taonga like korowai, kākahu (cloaks), patu, mere (short-handled clubs),and pounamu. Experts then demonstrate care and storage techniques for the taonga. This was a special workshop for our team as we were accompanied by Tainui kaumātua, Tomo Peke and Nancy Gage, who were the kaumātua in residence for Te Papa. They ensured spiritual and cultural aspects were adhered to.

Taumata o te Ra workshop

We were also joined by Toma Mason from Archives New Zealand, who attended to experience one of our workshops and to present information about Archives New Zealand and explain how they can support iwi.

This workshop was an emotional experience, as Taumata o te Rā marae was struck by tragedy in 2011 when fire destroyed the marae dining room. We are pleased we’ve been able to contribute to the long-term care of the taonga that whānau hold in their homes and within the marae surroundings.

I would also like to thank whānau from other marae in the rohe (area) – Poupatate, Te Tikanga, Kauwhata, and Aorangi to name a few. Thank you for the tautoko (support) and for helping to make this workshop such a success.

Finally, a big mihi (thanks) to Uncle Watty and Averill Kereama, and a big mihi to Awhina Twomey for her help in organising the workshop. Having the help of someone who understands the home dynamics is crucial for a successful workshop.

Whanganui iwi also hosted a double workshop in May. This time the kaupapa was digital photography and paper conservation. This workshop was a great example of collaboration between National Services Te Paerangi, Nga Tai o Te Awa iwi organisation, Whanganui River Māori Trust Board, Alexander Turnbull Library, and Wanganui District Council.

This workshop had a great spread of participants from the different Whanganui river iwi, and some from further afield, who had come to check out the 2-day workshop with a view to perhaps bringing the workshops to their own rohe.

Chaana Morgan from Ngāti Rangi of Raetihi commented:
‘This has been an exciting hui and it shows the need to grasp the knowledge and techniques needed to care for our precious taonga.’

Whanganui workshop

Comments like these give us, as a team, motivation to continue in our strategic and practical assistance around the country.

I’d like to thank Uncle John Maihi and Nga Tai o te Awa Office Manager Evelyn Hiri, experienced local Librarian Sandy Nipia, Sheena Maru, and Arahi and Puawai Hagger from Ratana Archives who bought a beautiful collection of paper taonga along to be assessed and boxed.

Apart from continuing to roll out our workshop programme, our team has been busy with attending the Museums Aotearoa 2013 conference, planning for the year ahead, and keeping up with the many requests and email enquiries flowing in from around Aotearoa.

That’s enough from me, but don’t forget that if you have anything at all you want to discuss, you only have to email or ring me. Get on the flax vine and let’s start talking!

Gavin Reedy