Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Best Little Small Museum Ever!

Pataka or Storehouse (for food)

Meeting House, Okains Bay Maori & Colonial Museum, Banks Peninsular. 2008 Ajr
If you go down to the bay today, you’re in for a big surprise…..Okains Bay Maori & Colonial Museum is a thing of beauty and wonder – one man’s passion for collecting taken to extremes. Murray Thacker is the man behind it all. When his collection bulged out of his home garage, he bought the old cheese factory building (in 1968) and set up the astonishing array of exhibits he had collected over many decades. In 1977 it was made a public museum and today it gets around 6,000 visitors a year – which is quite remarkable in itself when you consider how ‘off the beaten track’ Okains Bay is. I spent ages here, totally captivated by the gathered histories of Maori and Pakeha alike. The Maori meeting house shown above (interior and exterior) was built observing all Maori traditions, using original materials from other meeting houses. Most of the carving was done by well known master carver, John Rua. The main Maori artefact museum houses many treasures, including a sacred god stick dating back to 1400, a war canoe from 1867 and a valuable Akaroa hei tiki recovered in England and brought back to Okains Bay by the museum’s founder. An amazing treasure trove well worth the effort of getting there.

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