Ko Rongowhakaata: Ruku i te Pō, Ruku i te AoKo Rongowhakaata: The Story of Light and Shadow

Explore the land, people, and stories of Rongowhakaata, an iwi whose unique art reflects their innate creativity, rich history, and innovative spirit. 

Rongowhakaata and Te Papa have worked together to create Ko Rongowhakaata: The Story of Light and Shadow. In this dramatic exhibition, discover awe-inspiring taonga, innovative contemporary art, and powerful stories of survival and tenacity.

Get to know this small, but enduring iwi from the East Coast of the North Island, whose leaders and creativity have made a big impact across Aotearoa New Zealand. See their renowned whare whakairo Te Hau ki Tūranga in a new light – a high point of Rongowhakaata creative expression.

When | Āhea

29 Sep 2017 – 3 Feb 2022

Where | Ki hea

Level 4

Cost | Te utu

Free entry


All ages


40 minutes

Accessibility | E wātea ana ki
  • wheelchair accessible (please note that the inside of Te Hau ki Tūranga is not accessible by a wheelchair, mobility scooter, or similar)

  • variable lighting

  • no photography

Find out more about accessibility at Te Papa

Discover Rongowhakaata’s places and people

Explore the places important to Rongowhakaata identity and encounter leaders who sent ripples across our country’s history: master carver Raharuhi Rukupō, prophet, nationalist leader and prolific artist and composer Te Kooti, and war recruitment and social campaigner Hēni Materoa to name a few.

Explore Rongowhakaata creativity

Rongowhakaata carvers are celebrated for their contrast of light and shadow – discover some of their most valued taonga, spanning centuries. Explore numerous contemporary art works, and learn about distinctive Rongowhakaata weaving, literary experts, and performing artists.

Kia tū rangatira ai a Rongowhakaata
For Rongowhakaata to stand with dignity

Matthew Thornton, Hei tiki, 2017.Photography by Michael O’Neill. Te Papa. Courtesy of New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute

'Te Kiko-o-te-Rangi' piupiu (skirt), 2015.By Rob Ruha. Photo by Michael O'Neill, 2017. Courtesy of Rob Ruha

Pou whakairo (freestanding carved figure), about 1840. Maker unknown. Te Papa (OL000148)

Kete Kiwi (woven bag with kiwi feathers),about 1900. Maker unknown. Photo by Michael O'Neill, 2017. Courtesy of Sundeland/ Brown whānau

‘Tū-te-pūwherowhero-Tūranga’ pūkāea (trumpet), 2002. By Tiopira Rauna. Photo by Michael O'Neill, 2017. Courtesy of Tiopira Rauna

Discover moreKia kitea ake

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