24 Jan 2014

British Museum puts taonga Maori collection online

7:13 am on 24 January 2014

The British Museum has started to put more of its taonga Maori collection online.

Every object in the British Museum's collection is logged in its vast electronic database, and that database is now available online.

It includes images of the museum's Maori treasures from its Oceania section, including many other Pacific artefacts.

The curator of the Solomon Islands collection, Ben Burt, says even though many Maori and Pacific Islanders may never get the chance to visit the British Museum in London, it's working hard to add more photographs of taonga to its website.

He says in the British Museum it has artefacts which have not been seen in their home countries for many years, and many generations.

Mr Burt says its Melanesian collection, for example, is a repository of historical, cultural and artistic information which should be available for Pacific Islanders to reconstitute their culture, if and when they are interested in doing so.

More of the Pacific collection is going online every day but for some objects details are sparse. The museum is keen to hear feedback from Maori and Pacific Islanders to help update their records.