On the road in the North Island – January 2019

By Sally August, North Island Museum Development Adviser | Kaiwhanake Whare Taonga

As I begin to write this blog my work brain is slowly beginning to shift into gear. It is my first day back at mahi following a lovely sunny holiday at home in Tairawhiti. My husband, Anaru, and I were fortunate to have many friends and family visiting over this time, and we took the opportunity to acquaint them with the many gifts our region has to offer, to visit the local swimming spots and of course our local museum and creative hubs.

Te Papa whanau past and present at Erica Jones’ tangi, Pahou Marae, Manutuke. Photographer Te Taiawatea Moko-Mead, 2018

Looking back on 2018, especially the end of last year, brings many memorable moments to mind, some magnificent and others sadly bring a tear or two to my eye.

In November the Jones whanau, Rongowhakāta Iwi, Tairawhiti community, many dear friends and Te Papa whanau lost a great young women who is deeply missed. Erica Jones was a powerhouse who helped immensely with the development and implementation of the Ko Rongowhakaata: The Story of Light and Shadow exhibition at Te Papa. She came on board as an Iwi Intern and went on to be the project adviser, facilitator, co-ordinator and all round wiz! Erica demonstrated young leadership at its finest. I know many will remember Erica, and the many others we have lost in our sector with great affection, they will forever hold a special place in hearts.

Watch coverage of Erica Jones’ tangi on Te Kaea:

Erica was also remembered in the NZ Herald as a rising young leader in the East Coast community.

Read Erica Lynne Delany Jones remembered as ‘special’ and ‘selfless’ in the NZ Herald

Some of the Hokianga Museum and Archives Centre team outside their wonderful little museum in paradise. Photographer Sally August, Te Papa

In the months leading up to Christmas I visited a few museums, galleries and archives around Northland, the Bay of Plenty, Central Hawkes Bay, Manawatu and Wellington regions. I also attended a couple of cluster meetings north of Auckland.

Thanks to all those that shared their time and experiences with me, and to those in the North thank you for hosting Vicki-Anne Heikell, National Preservation Office Field Conservator and I. The results from these visits are ongoing and this year they will certainly bear fruit, including a Northland Museum Association requested workshop with Vicki-Anne and others.

Central Hawkes Bay (CHB) Museum Nga Taonga o Tamatea Te Hokinga Mai Exhibition dawn opening. Photo supplied by the CHB Museum

On Saturday 1 December I attended the Central Hawkes Bay (CHB) Museum Nga Taonga o Tamatea Te Hokinga Mai exhibition dawn opening along with many others who braved the cooler weather and showers. The exhibition featured a collection of taonga from private collections as well as other museums including MTG Hawke’s Bay and Te Papa. It was wonderful to see these treasures being relished in their home rohe.

I contacted Jana, the CHB Museums Manager and Curator a few days ago to hear how things are going. She noted: “the exhibition is going really well. We have had such a positive response from locals as well as NZ residents. More similar projects about local Maori history are developing with local council and Te Taiwhenua o Tamatea too, which is just wonderful. [The opening] was a very special occasion in Central Hawkes Bay.”

The exhibition runs until 1 March 2019, so if you’re in the Hawkes Bay over the next little while I’m sure Jana would love to see you and share this special kaupapa.

Locals enjoying the numerous taonga featured in the Nga Taonga o Tamatea Te Hokinga Mai Exhibition. Photo supplied by the CHB Museum

This is a significant exhibition for CHB Museum because it is the first time they have ever borrowed items for display, made possible following refurbishment of the museum’s exhibition hall.

Read Taonga return to Central Hawke’s Bay Settlers’ Museum in the NZ Herald

CHB Museum shared a great video of the opening ceremony on their Facebook page

MTG Hawkes Bay Curator Taonga Māori Te Hira Henderson also shared his experience of the exhibition.

Read From the MTG: Exhibition of taonga opens in Waipawa on the NZ Herald

Looking ahead …

In February I’ll be supporting Service IQ trainees with a few NZ Certificate in Museum Practice assessments and verifications, then I’m off to Wellington for this year’s Te Matatini National Kapa Haka festival with the NSTP team to share a little about what our team does and how we can help with the care of taonga.

In March we’ll be full steam ahead in partnership with Rongowhakāta Iwi as we coordinate this year’s Tūhonohono i ngā Taonga ā-Iwi Conference in Gisborne from 28-29 March.  Registration is about to open as I write this.

Tūhonohono is a forum for iwi to share the kaupapa of kaitiekitanga, to wānanga the opportunities, the challenges and the mātauranga that are inherent in taonga.   Iwi culture and heritage professionals will be providing first hand advice and insight into conservation and managing taonga held within the care of the community.

Some of the learnings from previous Tūhonohono conferences have been shared on the NZ Museums blog.

Read From ancient taonga to virtual reality: iwi innovation in heritage preservation from the 2015 conference held in Whakatane in partnership with Ngati Awa

Read Inspiration from the 2017 Tūhonohono i ngā Taonga ā-Iwi Conference held in Kaitaia 2017 in partnership with Te Rarawa

For all museum, gallery, iwi / hapu and care or taonga and museum development queries please feel free to contact me or reach out to one of our team via our freephone helpline 0508 NSTP HELP (0508 678 743) or email natserv@tepapa.govt.nz

The team and I look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at one of the upcoming conferences, workshops and hui around the country this year.

Nga mihi, na

Sally August
Kaiwhanake Whare Taonga | North Island Museum Development Advisor