19 Dec 2013

Maori author aids British Museum

6:31 am on 19 December 2013

An author of a book about the art of oratory in te reo Maori has helped the British Museum in London to capture what the Maori world is about.

Curator Natasha McKinney, who specialises in pieces from Oceania, contacted Dr Poia Rewi, who wrote the publication, Whaikorero.

She says he sent her a range of images from his research, including a photo of the late Ngati Manawa iwi leader, Bill Bird with students and teachers from Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiuau in Murupara, south-east of Rotorua.

The photo is set at Painoaiho Marae - and illustrates practices such as oratory and waiata.

Ms McKinney says the image gives visitors an idea about how tangata whenua gather at the marae and shows them that Maori culture is active and changing.

The image is part of a wider Maori display called Sustaining Each Other and is focussed on marae and the wharenui (meeting house). It includes taonga such as Maori carvings, historic material and greenstone club (mere pounamu).

The display is at one of the museum's entrance-ways.