Ka Takata Whenua o Waihao, an exhibition that tells the stories of the people of Waihao, will open in two weeks time at the Waimate Museum. This exhibition turns back the pages of Waimate history to explore the journey of Māori inhabiting the district before and after European arrival.
The exhibition is the result of a partnership project between Te Rūnanga o Waihao and the Waimate Historical Society Incorporated. Museum staff and members of the rūnanga have worked together in designing and developing what they believe will provide an insightful and memorable visitor experience for adults and children alike.
Te Rūnanga o Waihao project manager Steve Boyd has supervised the construction of many of the exhibit items that have been carefully crafted by a team of Community Max workers.
“After several months of planning, preparation and sheer hard work it is just great to see this ambitious project come to fruition”, Mr Boyd said.
The bulk of the funding for the project has been provided by a special grant from National Services Te Paerangi, a unit within the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu -Waihao Holdings Ltd and the Ministry of Social Development.
“The Waimate Historical Society committee is proud to be involved with this project and acknowledges not only the financial backing, but the generous community support that has helped make it all happen,” said the Society’s president Gail Woods.
Already plans are afoot for organising education programmes with the help of the Heritage Education Service educators.
“This will provide an ideal opportunity for local schools to get involved too,” Mrs Woods said.
Along with the various displays, the exhibition will include a fun interactive area providing hands-on activities.
Underpinning the preparation of the exhibition has been an awareness of the value of the Waimate district for many people throughout its history. Those working on the project encourage visitors to come and learn more. Expect to be surprised.
The exhibition is to be officially opened with a special pōwhiri. It will be open to the public from Tuesday 11th May and will be running until early November.