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Ngā Parahanga (Waste)

Each of these brief stories about Auckland relates to an object from the Museum’s collection that’s linked to the topic of 'waste' in our Taku Tāmaki - Auckland Stories exhibition. Waste is all the stuff we don’t want any more, what we throw away, the excess. Cut down on waste and our oceans would be less whakapokea (polluted), diseases could be avoided and the hau (air) might smell better. But sometimes the stuff we discard can tell us a lot about our rā o mua (past) and reveal secrets about the way others lived. What have you maka atu (thrown away) lately?

Dress, Rhanae Ngawaka, Aulo Barclay, Siarna Ashby, Te Hira Moewaka, Rebekah Neho-Hauraki and Mahina Bennett, 2014.

On loan from Western Springs College. IL214.13.

Can you imagine your trash as runway fashion?

Can Aucklanders meet this mātātaki (challenge)? No dumping waste in our landfills by 2040!

Would you wear a potato-sack dress with toilet-roll trim? Are you sure? Take a look at this kākahu (dress). It’s made from parahanga (trash)!

A group of Western Springs College ākonga (students) are doing their bit for hangarua (recycling) with this entry for the Schools Trash to Fashion Awards - and last year they won the Perfectly Pasifika secondary category.

'City of Sails' now, but once 'City of Haunga (Smells)'

Tūtae (poo) never smells too good...

Can you imagine walking down Queen Street and stepping over poo? All kinds of poo; hōiho (horse), dog and human. And what if that muck flowed into the sea?

The tāone nui (city) was overflowing with new arrivals in the early 1900s. There was more poo, but no tuku wai (flushing) toilets. Believe it or not, human waste was still being kohikohi (collected) by 'night-soil' wagons. That’s right, poo trucks! What a piro (stinky) job.

Chamber pots, AMBRICO (Crown Lynn), 1930s–1940s.

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. K5912 & K4653.

Contents of Albert Barracks (Albert Park) well, 1850s–1870s.

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. AR7644.

Parahanga (rubbish) down a puna wai (water well)

Sometimes junk has a story for you to find.

Albert Park has always been a wāhi pai (good place) to hang out. In the 1850s and 1860s it was Albert Barracks, kāinga (home) to many soldiers including those of the 58th Regiment. The walled barracks were never attacked, but the place was bustling with tāngata (people).

How did they live? The whiunga (relics) shown below found down the barracks’ water well give you some clues. Seems like they got up to some fun and games - just look at the dice and dominoes. And is that a fake ringaringa (hand) or a brooch?

A plastic cap or a last meal?

Plastic is not so fantastic for our marine life.

Imagine you are a seabird flying over the Hauraki Gulf. Hungry, you spot what you think is a reka (tasty) marine morsel. You gobble it up only to find it’s a bottle top. Bad idea.

Like us, birds can’t digest plastic and eventually it can kill them. Whakaheke (reducing) how much plastic we use would help. What else can we aha (do)?

Thalassarche melanophris (black-browed albatross), collected Muriwai Beach, 2015.

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. LB14911.

Āe, te taonga, engari pēhea te moana?

Ki te whakaaro Māori, kaua rawa te parakaingaki tangata e tukua ki te wai rere, ki te wai rānei o te moana.

I te tau 1914, ka tukua tēnei pouaka hiriwa ki te Koromatua o Tāmaki Makaurau, hei whakanui i te whakatuwheratanga o te kōawa tuku parahanga hou. Ahakoa te mīharo ki te paipa hou, ka tukua atu ngā parakaingaki ki te Whanga o Ōkahu ki mua tonu i te kāinga o Ngāti Whātua i Ōrākei. Ka kino te mauri o ngā tāhuna pipi, ngā tauranga ika, me ngā wai o Waitematā mō ngā whakatupuranga maha. 100 tau ki muri, kei te whakaora anō a Ngāti Whātua i ēnei wai ātaahua.

A prize for polluting our own backyard?

Human waste and food should never mix.

In 1914, the silver casket shown below was presented to the koromatua (mayor) of Auckland to celebrate the opening of the city's major new sewage system.

But the system emptied raw sewage straight into the moana (sea) at Ōkahu Bay, directly in front of local hapū (sub-tribe) Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei village. It devastated shellfish beds, food supplies and the mauri (life force) of the bay for generations. One hundred years later, an exciting environmental programme led by Ngāti Whātua is whakaora (revitalising) these wai (waters).

Presentation casket, 1914, silver, gift of Sir James Parr.

Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. Col.2382.27.

Auckland Stories - Taku Tāmaki exhibition

Discover more elements of Tāmaki Makaurau at our current exhibition, Auckland Stories - Taku Tāmaki. Or, read more Auckland Stories online.

Visit the exhibition


Cite this article

MacFarlane, Kirsten. Ngā Parahanga (Waste). Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 5 June 2015. Updated: 28 July 2015.
URL: www.aucklandmuseum.com/discover/collections/topics/nga-parahanga-waste

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