26 February 2014
Representatives from Tainui, one of New Zealand’s largest tribal groupings, will gather at Te Papa to celebrate the success of their exhibition Tai timu, tai pari, Tainui: Journey of a people, during a special closing ceremony this Sunday (2 March 2014).
The Māori King, Te Arikinui Kiingi Tuheitia Paki, will attend the ceremony to formally close the exhibition, which tells the epic story of the Tainui people through tales of their inspirational leaders and taonga (cultural treasures).
Tai timu, tai pari, Tainui: Journey of a people was developed in conjunction with the Tainui Waka Alliance – an association of five Tainui/Waikato iwi (tribes): Hauraki, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Raukawa, Te Kawerau-a-Maki, and Waikato.
Te Papa’s Kaihautū, Arapata Hakiwai, says “Tainui’s Tai timu, tai pari, Tainui: Journey of a people exhibition has touched the hearts of many people both nationally and internationally. For the last two-and-a-half years, more than 800 thousand visitors have experienced Tainui’s rich history, from its origins in East Polynesia to present-day Aotearoa New Zealand and beyond.”
The Iwi Exhibition Programme is an important dimension of Te Papa’s bicultural foundation providing an opportunity for iwi to present their own taonga and histories to the world in their own way. Iwi that take part in Te Papa’s iwi exhibition programme work in partnership and collaboration with the Museum to tell their stories and share important treasured tribal taonga.
The iwi exhibition lasts for 2 to 3 years, and during this time kaumātua (elders) from the tribe are employed at Te Papa becoming their tribal ambassadors and representing Te Papa in all ceremonial activities. These elders share their knowledge and wisdom to Te Papa staff and provide an important korowai (cloak) of cultural knowledge and understanding.
Te Papa’s CEO, Michael Houlihan, says “We worked in partnership with Tainui iwi to develop this exhibition, and since September 2011 the Tainui flag has flown at Te Papa’s Marae. Their kaumātua have generously shared their much-valued insight and wisdom with their wider Te Papa family.”
The Tainui kaumātua, Shane Te Ruki says seeing school children engaging with the exhibition space has been a highlight of his time at Te Papa. “The other highlight has been the collective task of bringing these treasures together, to embody the dreams and aspirations of the late Queen, Te Atairangikaahu, and the fulfilment of this exhibition during the reign of her son, King Tuheitia Paki.”
Arapata Hakiwai says “ We look back on the last two-and-a-half years with a deep sense of gratitude and respect for Tainui/Waikato in allowing us to present their history and taonga to the world. Their tribal elders have shared their wisdom and opened their hearts to Te Papa staff and visitors as well as representing Te Papa overseas. The next iwi exhibition features Ngāti Toa, and the iwi takes up residence in June. We look forward to the privilege of sharing more treasured stories and insights of the Māori world essential to the national museum’s unique bicultural foundation.”
Find out more about Tai timu, tai pari, Tainui: Journey of a people