The Ngāi Tahu Whānui Exhibition opens at Otago Museum

Rock drawing courtesy of the Auckland Museum, Tiki courtesy of Southland Museum and Art Gallery, Tāhei, Courtesy of Southland Museum and Art Gallery, Tuaki, 2006, by Fiona Pardington, courtesy of Fiona Pardington, Whakapakoko kūri, courtesy of Canterbury Museum.

Mō Tātou – The Ngāi Tahu Whānui Exhibition

Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri, ā murī ake nei. For us and our children after us.

Mō Tātou – The Ngāi Tahu Whānui Exhibition opens at Otago Museum on Saturday 4 December 2010. The exhibition tells the story of the distinct and dynamic culture of the South Island’s Ngāi Tahu people.

Developed in partnership by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) and Ngāi Tahu Iwi Steering Group, Mō Tātou is toured by Te Papa, inviting visitors to learn about Ngāi Tahu’s vision for the future through taonga (treasures), photographs, audio visual displays and art.

Underpinning the exhibition are four cultural values drawn from the tribal saying, ‘Mō tātou, ā, mō kā uri ā muri ake nei. For us and our children after us’. These principles of Toitū te iwi (Culture); Toitū te rangatiratanga (Tenacity); Toitū te aō tūroa (Sustainability), and Toitū te pae tawhiti (Innovation) reflect Ngāi Tahu’s contemporary understanding of the iwi’s past and future. From the Ngāi Tahu creation story to their most important taonga, and their representation on the world art stage, Mō Tātou presents the journey of Ngāi Tahu Whānui who have survived and progressed from near-decimation to tribal autonomy and self-reliance.

A fifth section has been added for the Otago Museum exhibition, titled Aukaha kia kaha – Strengthen the bindings. Dedicated to the local context, the Museum has worked with each of the five contributing rūnaka – Waihao, Moeraki, Puketeraki, Ōtākou and Hokonui, who have provided photographs representative of each settlements’ history and people. Aukaha kia kaha features large scale marae photographs by Neil Pardington, alongside Otago Museum collection items previously displayed within Mō Tātou in Te Papa.

“We are excited to bring the Kāi Tahu story to the people of Otago” says Matapura Ellison, Chairman of the Museum’s Māori Advisory Committee and the local Mō Tātou project committee. “The unique taonga and stories from each of the five rūnaka featured in Aukaha kia kaha serve to further enrich, from a local perspective, the core elements embodied within Mo Tātou.”

Throughout the exhibition, a full programme of public events will be on offer, including floor talks, demonstrations and children’s activities, storytelling sessions and panel discussions, all of which welcome public participation. Each month of the exhibition focuses on a separate theme – December’s programmes are based around Whanaukataka (kinship), Rakatirataka (authority & governorship) will be the common theme in January, Kaitiakitaka (guardianship) will be February’s focus, and finally March will highlight Wairuataka (spirituality and sense of identity).

“Hosting Mō Tātou is a privilege for the Otago Museum” says Chief Executive Shimrath Paul. “We look forward to welcoming mana whenua to the Museum for this very special exhibition and its supporting programmes. We are also pleased to offer an opportunity for the wider Otago community to learn more about Kāi Tahu and gain a greater understanding of the iwi’s past, present and future.”

Mō Tātou – The Ngāi Tahu Whānui Exhibition

1877 Gallery, Otago Museum

Saturday 4 December – Sunday 3 April 2011


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