12 Oct 2011

Taniwha show so popular it's back again

7:45 am on 12 October 2011

An exhibition aimed at demystifying the meaning of taniwha has been so successful the Auckland Museum is repeating the show.

The exhibition, Taniwha!, which was on at the museum earlier this year, explains the role taniwha play as spiritual guardians of wahi tapu (sacred sites).

A taniwha researcher working with the museum, Pita Turei, says the stories he has been telling have opened people's eyes to the relevance of taniwha and the importance of respecting harbours, lakes and rivers.

He says that when people visit the places associated with taniwha they will be able to get a very clear message that those wahi tapu haven't been given the proper respect they deserve, especially in regard to water quality and the retention of it.

Mr Turei says visitors are handed maps so they can go and visit the different taniwha locations relating to his stories.

He says his research has also helped the Waitangi Tribunal to understand the deep historical connections different iwi in Tamaki Makaurau have with wahi tapu.

Taniwha! will run over the school holidays.