Mokihi display at the North Otago Museum in 2011

Waitangi Day 2019

6 February, Waitangi Day. The current exhibition upgrade project at the North Otago Museum is an opportunity for our museum to confirm its commitment to honouring the Treaty of Waitangi. So what does this mean? What will it look like for visitors?

Our labels will include more te reo Māori and more information about te ao Māori- the Māori world.

Te Kaihinaki: For example I am currently working on plans for our geology displays and this will include the Māori stories of Ārai te uru and Te Kaihīnaki in our section on the Moeraki boulders.

“Te Kaihīnaki is the Māori name for the Moeraki Boulders, situated on Koekohe Beach just north of Moeraki Peninsula. Te Kaihīnaki are the round food-baskets and water-carrying gourds of the waka Ārai-te-uru that capsized further down the coastline at Matakaea (Shag Point). Ārai-te-uru brought kūmara from Hawaiki to Aotearoa. After visiting Te Ika-a-Māui (the North Island), the waka came down the east coast of Te Waipounamu (the South Island), where it encountered heavy seas. The baskets and gourds were lost overboard, forming the Moeraki boulders. Ārai-te-uru continued further down the coast before capsizing at Matakaea (Shag Point). Many of the passengers went ashore to explore the land but did not return to the waka before daylight, and transformed into many of the well-known geographical features of Te Waipounamu.” From Kā Huru Manu, the Ngāi Tahu Atlas.

Willetts Collection: We are also make changes to the way we display the Waitaki Taoka (Willetts' Collection). Based on the research project led by Professor Richard Walter at Otago University, we will explore the technical innovations in adze making developed by local Māori in response to a new environment and new opportunities here in Aotearoa. The display will honour the ancestors who created these amazing taoka.

European Era: Our stories about the Victorian era will include records and artefacts of encounters between Māori and Europeans. I think visitors will be surprised and moved by these early relationships. I know I have been as I carry out my research.

Chloe Searle