14 Mar 2014

Tuwharetoa considers tribal museum

7:53 am on 14 March 2014

The return of a huge Maori carving stolen from a Ngati Tuwharetoa Marae more than 70 years ago has prompted talk in the tribe of developing a tribal museum.

The koruru (Maori carved face), just over a metre high and requiring three men to lift it, is now housed at Taupo Museum's Tuwharetoa Gallery. An official welcoming was hosted by the hapu of Ngati Te Kohera at Mokai Marae near Taupo last week.

The sub-tribe said the carving was stolen from a tribal whare in the 1940s. Eighteen months ago hapu member Mic O'Dea found out it was being looked after by the national museum Te Papa Tongarewa.

He hopes that one day it could be housed in a tribal museum, on land next to the Taupo Museum.

Mr O'Dea said it took six months for the hapu to get the koruru back home from Te Papa because it had to be proven to belong to Ngati Te Kohera.

Mr O'Dea said Ngati Tuwharetoa paramount chief Sir Tumu te Huehue told people at the powhiri he was talking to the museum about adjacent land being used as a whare taonga for the tribe.

Taupo District Council said discussions over governance options at the city museum have started with the tribe.