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Te Marae O Rongotaketake – Redressing Kahungunu History

Te Marae O Rongotaketake – Redressing Kahungunu History

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  • Wed 30 Aug ’17, 10:00am – 4:30pm
  • Thu 31 Aug ’17, 10:00am – 4:30pm
  • Fri 1 Sep ’17, 10:00am – 4:30pm
  • Sat 2 Sep ’17, 10:00am – 4:30pm
  • Sun 3 Sep ’17, 10:00am – 4:30pm
  • View all sessions


Aratoi Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, 12 Bruce St, Masterton


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

After two years of preparation, Aratoi Museum is pleased to present the largest exhibition of Ngati Kahungunu taonga ever on display. Te Marae o Rongotaketake – Redressing our Kahungunu History fills the entire museum.

The exhibition displays about 200 historical items, including over 70 items from Aratoi's collection, 11 Gottfried Lindauer portraits of Kahungunu rangatira, several intricate carvings in wood, bone, and celluloid, and a 7-metre-long waka. Various taonga are on loan from museums, such as the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles, Auckland Museum, MTG (Napier), Puke Ariki (New Plymouth), Te Manawa (Palmerston North) and Te Papa (Wellington).

The exhibition-as-marae is interspersed with key Kahungunu narratives and uses the powhiri process to guide the visitor through the museum experience, complete with Karanga, Whaikorero, Te o Ha, the coming together and a Kaumatua Kitchen as a place of learning and socialising.

The word 'Rongotaketake' in the exhibition title translates as 'enduring peace'. Haami Te Whaiti, curator of the exhibition as well as Treaty negotiator with the Kahungunu, says, 'This peace speaks to our future relationships with the Crown and the community here, just as much as it did to our ancestors back then. The iwi has always been committed to non-violence, and it is well-known that the Wairarapa was "the bloodless province" of Aotearoa.

Aratoi Museum has sourced taonga nationally and internationally for this large-scale project. The Museum is particularly pleased to exhibit an ornate wahaika (hand weapon) from the Sir Henry Wellcome Collection of the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles. Carved in celluloid by Jacob Heberley (1849-1906), the wahaika originally belonged to Tamahau Mahupuku, of Papawai Marae, and was presented to the 5th Earl of Ranfurly, Governor of New Zealand from 1897-1904, before his departure from Aotearoa.

Among the items on display: waka, wahaika, harakeke waistcoat, several korowai (cloaks), hei tiki, hinaki (eel trap), shark tooth necklace, whale ivory amulets, pounamu spearheads, fish hooks, adzes, adze heads, and needles. Along the highest wall of the museum stands the entire front of a wharenui carved by Te Nahu Haeata for the Te Ore Ore Marae; it has recently been restored.

The exhibition also includes several works from contemporary artists: Tom Donald, Ngataiharuru Taepa and Rongomaiaia Te Whaiti.

Some of the Gottfried Lindauer portraits have just returned from the major exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery. Others have never been displayed in public before.

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