10 Sep 2009

Gathering to commemorate Te Maori

6:46 pm on 10 September 2009

A gathering is being held at Waiwhetu marae in Lower Hutt on Thursday to remember Te Maori - an exhibition that changed forever the way museums relate to indigenous artefacts.

Co-curator Hirini Moko Mead says Te Maori had already rewritten the rule-book when it opened at Chicago's Field Museum 25 years ago.

The then-head of the Department of Maori Affairs, Kara Puketapu, insisted iwi give their approval for their taonga to travel overseas and introduced the notion of cultural ownership running alongside legal ownership.

Professor Mead says the exhbition was the first to insist that taonga needed to be kept warm through human contact.

He told Waatea News the exhibition gave hundreds of Maori curators a crash course in their own culture and it opened the doors of museums worldwide to indigenous people.