Hinepūtēhue: The peaceful companion 

Colour transparencies of gourds grown and decorated by Theo Schoon circa 1964, Schoon, Theo (1915–1985), Auckland. Purchased 2001 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa
Colour transparencies of gourds grown and decorated by Theo Schoon circa 1964, Schoon, Theo (1915–1985), Auckland. Purchased 2001 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa
Taha huahua (calabash) Probably late 1800s, Maker unknown, Wairarapa. Gift of Mrs WH Robinson, 1968. Te Papa
Taha huahua (calabash) Probably late 1800s, Maker unknown, Wairarapa. Gift of Mrs WH Robinson, 1968. Te Papa
Gourd, Robinson, Ann (1944– ), New Zealand. Purchased 2009. Te Papa
Gourd, Robinson, Ann (1944– ), New Zealand. Purchased 2009. Te Papa

 

13 June – 13 July 2013. Level 4. Free entry

Pūtēhue! Kia tuputupu nunui koe. Ka porotaka i ngā ringaringa. Kia ahuahu nunui koe.
Gourd goddess! May you grow large and rounded in these hands. May you be shaped huge.

This special Matariki exhibition is dedicated to the humble hue – the gourd that the first Māori settlers brought to Aoteaora New Zealand.

Valued around the Pacific and the world for its usefulness and subtle beauty, the hue (Lagenaria siceraria) was one of the first plants to be domesticated. Its history is closely tied to stories of human migration.

For Māori, Hinepūtēhue is the female deity associated with the hue. The daughter of Tānemahuta, god of the forest, and Hinerauāmoa, Hinepūtēhue took it upon herself to quell the conflict that had arisen among the descendants of Ranginui, the sky father, and Papatūānuku, the earth mother, after they were separated.

Like many other peoples around the world, Māori used the hue to carry water and store kai (food). Embellished and adorned, it became a vessel for birds preserved in their own fat. Hollowed out and animated with breath, it was transformed into a musical instrument.

Water carrier, music maker, peace bringer. This Matariki, we celebrate the hue with taonga (treasures) from our shores and beyond.

More about Te Papa’s Matariki Festival 2013