The countdown to Matatini is on, with six giant greenstone boulders having been welcomed onto the Te Matatini grounds at Hagley Park this week.
For the past eight years, the Canterbury Museum behind me has been home to the six greenstone boulders. Some of the boulders weigh more than four tonnes and according to the head curator at the museum, Roger Fyfe, Ngāi Tahu has big plans for the greenstone boulders.
They don't call it Te Waipounamu for nothing. The six giant greenstone boulders will serve as ornaments scattered across the Te Matatini grounds.
Local elder, Te Mairiki Williams, says, "It's such a special occasion to have these treasures returned, especially to us in this region, and they'll be used to beautify the grounds here at Te Matatini."
Originally from Te Tai o Poutini, these six treasures have been housed in storage at Canterbury Museum for the past eight years.
Museum curator Rodger Fyfe explains, "They came from Big Bay in Fiordland, a private collector he was a miner had them in his procession has and he didn't want to cut them, but wanted to make them available for all the people of NZ and her way of achieving that is working alongside the museum adn Ngāi Tahu and they became a part of the museum collection."
Now the time has come for these treasures to be brought out for all to see.
Puamiri Parata says, "We really want to showcase our beautiful treasures, our ancestors. These boulders are our ancestors, our grandmothers and our grandfathers. That's what is important to us."
Once Te Matatini has finished, Ngāi Tahu and Canterbury Museum hope to work together on a project that will allow the world to view the boulders.