New Zealand's Cultural Treasures Heading to China 

5 September 2012

As part of the celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand, two Te Papa exhibitions will be heading to the National Museum of China in November 2012. 

“The exhibitions Brian Brake: Lens on China and Kura Pounamu: Treasured stone of Aotearoa New Zealand will deepen the cultural connections and understanding between our two nations,” says Michael Houlihan, Te Papa Chief Executive.

“It is an exciting opportunity to share the stories behind some of New Zealand’s most significant cultural treasures.” 

Kura Pounamu: Treasured stone of Aotearoa New Zealandexplores the powerful role pounamu plays in affirming and building a variety of relationships – from the personal to the political – in showcasing traditional and contemporary pounamu taonga, including hei tiki (pendants in human form), adornments such as ear pendants and necklaces, tools for carving (adzes and chisels) and mere pounamu (nephrite weapons). The exhibition also explores the properties of this stone which is unique New Zealand. 

Brian Brake: Lens on China and New Zealandcontrasts the photographs that Brake took in 1960 for New Zealand: Gift of the Sea with his images of China, taken shortly before. These were periods of change for both countries. During his visits to China in 1957, and again in 1959, he captured the spectacles of mass parades in Beijing. In 1960, he toured New Zealand, the land of his birth, where the magnificent mountain scenery drew his eye.  Placing the photographs together shows the huge differences between the two countries. But what the photographs also have in common is that they capture the same moment in time – a moment that is long past and entirely unknown by young people today.

 Kura Pounamu: Treasured stone of Aotearoa New Zealandand Brian Brake: Lens on China and New Zealand will open at the National Museum of China early November 2012.  

The exhibitions were developed jointly by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the National Museum of China with the support of the New Zealand Government through Manatū Taonga -  Ministry for Culture and Heritage's Cultural Diplomacy International Programme.  

Te Papa gratefully acknowledges the gift of the Brian Brake Collection by Wai-man Lau.

Read more about these exhibitions on the National Museum of China's website


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