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How to care for wooden objects and taonga Māori Tiaki taonga rākau, taonga Māori hoki


Wear gloves when handling wooden objects. If the item is heavy and gloves would affect your grip, use clean, bare hands instead.

Storing and moving

  • Keep your wooden objects in an area with consistent temperature and humidity. Fluctuations in these conditions can cause wood to expand and contract, leading to cracking, bending, and breakage.
  • Store wooden objects on shelves or pallets, rather than directly on the floor, to protect from flooding.
  • Protect wooden objects from exposure to light.
  • Inspect wooden objects for insects like borer and other beetles, which can cause significant damage.
  • Wood is highly flammable, so protect your items and have a fire safety plan in place.
  • Keep spaces clean by dusting shelving and vacuuming floors, but avoid applying oils to wood.
  • When moving a heavy object, make sure to use at least two people and have a clear path laid out before you start. Secure any drawers or shelves that could come loose.

For more advice on furniture preservation visit The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

Taonga Māori protocol 

If your objects are taonga Māoritaonga Māori Māori treasures, consult with an iwiiwi tribal representative for advice on how to properly care for and display them.