New home for three of New Zealand's most treasured documents

By Ani-Oriwia Adds
  • Wellington

Three of Aotearoa's most important documents will soon be moved and made available to the general public. The Treaty of Waitangi along with The Declaration of Independence and the Women's Suffrage Petition are headed for their new home at the National Library, where they will live in a new exhibition space called, He Tohu.

The documents have been housed at Archives New Zealand for 25 years in a secure room but Internal Affairs says it wasn't designed to attract lots of visitors.

Principal Māori Advisor for He Tohu, Hinerangi Himiona says that as well as preserving the documents and keeping them safe the aim is to make these treasures more accessible, not just in terms of physical access but in terms of interpreting and inviting particularly young people to explore and understand them more.

Hinerangi says that the previous exhibition was more of a display where people went to visit them there wasn't a lot of interpretation around it. He Tohu has two parts to it, one is the display of the documents which is very quiet reverent space and around the outside is a very lively space.

Internal Affairs spokesperson Hugh Karena says that Māori experts and many other Māori entities have been brought on board to help shape this project and the content and information around the documents and the exhibition so that Māori and the general public can see their representation.

Karena says that it is timely that the documents have been moved here. It is a new space, it is accessible and it is equipped with the right technology to preserve and keep these documents safe.

The move itself has not been released due to security reasons but the He Tohu Exhibition will be open to the public on the 20th of May.