Exclusive tour of Te Papa’s Rongowhakaata exhibition

By Kawekōrero, Kayne Ngātokowhā Peters

Ko Rongowhakaata: Ruku i te Pō, Ruku i te Ao / Te Papa Tongarewa

Rongowhakaata descendant David Jones shares the treasures from his iwi on display at Wellington’s Te Papa Tongarewa museum.

Rongowhakaata: Ruku i te Pō, Ruku i te Ao is the eighth iwi exhibition in residence at the national museum.

Jones took Kawekōrero Reporters for a Skype tour of the exhibition after his iwi were given a traditional welcome at Te Papa to host the exhibition for the next two and a half years.

He says, “Rongowhakaata gathered here en masse at 3-4am this morning to recite the prayers at the blessing of this area which will pave the way for the masses of people to come and visit Te Papa Museum.”

Jones says, “The purpose of this exhibition is to excite the senses and to bring to life how our ancestors felt for all to see.”

Many of the taonga on display are hundreds of years old.

Jones says, “Some of these are from the year 1750. So some of these artefacts are very ancient. Even the cloaks.”

The exhibition was first displayed at all the marae of Rongowhakaata then held at the Gisbourne Museum before reaching Te Papa Tongarewa.