28 Feb 2014

Sad to see last of Tainui show

11:19 am on 28 February 2014

The Tainui kaumatua at Te Papa says the end of Tainui's two-year exhibition brings relief and sadness.

Shane Te Ruki.

Shane Te Ruki. Photo: RNZ

The exhibition, which showcases traditional and new Tainui taonga, will wrap up this weekend.

Four sets of kaumatua, each set representing a different Tainui tribe, acted as cultural guides for the exhibit. One of those kaumatua, Shane Te Ruki, says the exhibit has been a major part of his life for the past few years and unified various Tainui hapu in ways that other projects have not.

He says it was difficult to collect tribal treasures to put on display, but the exhibition was worth it and although making a list of what you want to display is easy, gathering it together is another matter.

The display combines traditional artefacts, oral history and carvings with present-day images of current generations.

Mr Te Ruki says this connection between the past and present is crucial for Tainui to understand who they are.

Iwi exhibitions started at Te Papa in 1998 and Tainui are the sixth iwi to exhibit.

Mr Te Ruki, who represents Ngati Maniapoto, says he's sad to see the doors close on the display. He says dismantling the exhibition will take three months and proper protocol will be observed.

Ngati Toa Rangatira is the next iwi exhibition and will take residence in June.