Museum in Napier installs digital whakatau for visitors

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

The Hawke's Bay MTG in Napier has opened a new experience for visitors to the museum, a virtual whakatau, a cultural welcome all in digital format on the big screen. 

"We've really opened the place up we've got interactive images we've got a whole māori powhiri and welcome going and I think it will be a delight to everyone that comes," says Rose Mohi, Ngāti Kahungunu historian.

"It absolute doesn't take the place of a real pohiri but I think that having access to a real pohiri for many people is something that alludes them so having a small taste like this kind of gives them a little insight into how our people live and engage with manuhiri," Michelle Lee, Curator Taonga Māori MTG.

Performed by local cultural group Kahurangi Dance Theatre and Rakei Ngaia, mau rākau tutor.

It's good to see the new age meeting with the treasures of the passed," says Ngaia, Pou Ono o Te Whare Tū Taua o Aotearoa.

It's a presentation that helps to explain the different components of the whakatau starting with the pukaia and pūtatara, the wero, the karanga and the waiata tautoko.

A Māori cultural experience that is a first for many tourists, albeit, a digital one, like Yvonne and Ben, Australia tourists visiting Hawke's Bay.

"Well they're playing the shells and things and I'd never seen anything like that before, it was really great," says Ben.

"Well it being digital everyone can see it but if it's live you've got to go to the villages which could be a long way, well for us coming in on a ship, so the digital is perfect, everyone gets to see it," says Yvonne.

The virtual experience is part of changes to the Māori exhibition Tēnei Tonu at the museum.