Wednesday, March 18, 2009

TOI ORA: Ancestral Maori Treasures

All images supplied by The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.
Imagine this – a stunning 196 page book crammed full of beautiful photographs of taonga tuku iho (ancient Maori treasures) – everything from grand structures to ceremonial artefacts including traditional weapons, jewellery and woven clothing. This is TOI ORA: Ancestral Maori Treasures, an exquisite new book from Te Papa Press, based on the remarkable collections of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and edited by Arapata Hakiwai (Ngati Kahungunu, Rongowhakaata, Ngati Porou, Kai Tahu), Director Matauranga Maori at Te Papa; and Senior Curator Maori, Dr Huhana Smith (Ngati Tukorehe, Ngati Ruakawa ki te Tonga). The book also features the scholarship of Dr Janet Davidson and Te Papa curators, Matiu Baker and Awhina Tamarapa.

Now available in bookstores throughout New Zealand (RRP $49.99), this sumptuous publication features over 120 full colour plates of taonga tuku iho, some of which have not been published before. Toi Ora: Ancestral Maori Treasures shows these taonga as living treasures, passed on through generations and containing the stories and mauri (life force) of those who made, used and continue to value them. The above images (supplied by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa) are - Top: Toki (adze blade). Te Tipunga 1300-1500. Iwi unknown. Pounamu (nephrite)/ 562 x 123 x 52mm. Purchased 1948, as part of the Oldman Collection. Bottom: Kumete (food bowl). Te Huringa 1 1800-1900. Ngati Pikiao from Lake Rotoiti, Rotorua region. Carved by Patoromu Tamatea. Wood/ 450 x 330 x 350mm. Gift of Mrs Chorlton, 1961.

And here is a tantalising glimpse of some of the precious treasures you can expect to see in the book.
Top Left: Nguru (flute). Te Puawaitanga. 1500-1800 or early Te Huringa 1 1800-1900. Iwi unknown. Wood, paua shell, fibre/ 143 x 55 x 50mm. Purchased 1948, as part of the Oldman Collection.
Top Right: Korere (feeding funnel). Te Puawaitanga 1500-1800. Iwi unknown; from Northland region. Wood/160 x 117 x 146mm. Purchased 1948, as part of the Oldman Collection.
Bottom Left: Wahaika paraoa (short-handled whalebone weapon) Te Puawaitanga 1500-1800. Iwi unknown. Whalebone/ 356 x 109 x 20mm. Acquired 1921, as part of the Purvis Russell Collection.
Bottom Right: Matau (fish-hook). Te Puawaitanga 1500-1800. Iwi unknown. Bone, fibre/ 80 x 53 x 12mm. Gift of W. Leo Buller, 1911, from the Sir Walter Buller Collection.

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