News from home / Reo and Culture
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1 Sep 2013

The kaitiakitanga of taonga passed down the generations, was the kaupapa of a Cultural Heritage Expo held at Uepohatu marae last month. Pia Pohatu, Archivist for Radio Ngati Porou organised the event, in partnership with Taina MacGregor (nee Tangaere) from the Oral History Centre, and Vicki-Ann Heikell from the Alexander Turnball library. Tairawhiti REAP and Te Runanganui O Ngati Porou also helped to support this community outreach initiative.

The idea to hold the expo was born by assistance by Radio Ngati Porou. Since then Radio Ngati Porou, the Oral History Centre and Alexander Turnball Library have worked together over the past two years to advocate, promote, resource and host this kaupapa.

Around 60 people, including students from Gisborne attended the expo and the feedback we received was really positive. While some came prepared with their taonga or kaupapa they wanted assistance with, others came out of sheer curiosity or interest.

However everyone enjoyed the variety of kaupapa and expertise shared and the opportunity to whakawhiti korero, whakawhiti whakaaro about what we consider to be taonga, why they are important and how we as whanau, marae, hapu, iwi preserve, care, use taonga.

Presentations, workshops, tutorials were provided by each organisation at various times over the expo.

These included:

1. Make a box for your taonga

2 hr session with Vicki-Anne Heikell, Nina Zimowit of the National Preservation Office using archive materials to customise protective storage for taonga.

2. Digitisation workshop

2 hr session with Toma Mason & Waitangi Teepa of Archives New Zealand on their information (Government files since 1911) and facilities. Various iwi partnership arrangements with Archives NZ have enabled Iwi information to be ‘digitally repatriated’ home. Iwi have also reproduced their information into books and CD/DVD formats to meet intergenerational preferences for accessing this information.

3. Taonga Tuturu

A presentation and discussion by Honiana Love on the Protected Objects Act (1975) administered by the Ministry of Culture & Heritage. This relates to the ‘discovery’ of taonga, now deemed to be owned by the Crown and the processes utilised to mediate/ negotiate taonga with their rightful owners (individual, whanau, hapu, iwi). In the interim the Crown has undertaken the appropriate restoration and storage needs of the taonga.

4. Arrangement and Database Development

Shared learnings from the Te Reo o Taranaki project, including effective ways to archive and catalogue taonga (various media),develop access protocols and overarching archive management policy.

5. Searching the collections

Individual and small group sessions with Mereana Taungapeau and Paul Diamond focused on accessing the National Library catalogues and website.Representatives from Te Ururangi oTe Matauranga were also on hand to talk about the archival training and other educational opportunities they deliver. As were the Department of Internal Affairs and the Gisborne District Council who provided funding and grant advice.

The expo also featured the flag presented to Ropata Wahawaha in 1871 where a condition appraisal was undertaken by Rangi Te Kanawa, Textile Conservator for Te Papa Tongarewa.She reported regularly through out the expo as to her findings and recommendations for preservation.

The key outcomes of this event were help to build and grow relationships within Ngati Porou and with the cultural heritage sector of Government. And to help inform a draft cultural heritage strategy for Ngati Porou (due at the end of September) that Radio Ngati Porou is developing through our Archive Project.

We hope the event proves beneficial to advancing Ngati Porou cultural development kaupapa, through promoting the need to progress the Taonga Tuturu Protocol and related Letters of Commitment in the Ngati Porou Deed of Settlement (the participating government agencies who delivered at the expo are parties to these).

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