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Pacific Collection Access Project

Akairo a te Taunga

Cook Islands collection project
MAY - SEP 2016

On 27 May 2016 Church Ministers blessed the Cook Islands collection in preparation for the Cook Islands component of the three year Pacific Collection Access Project. 

Akairo a te Taunga is the name that was gifted to the Cook Islands Collection project.

In the video below, community representatives Rev William Hakaoro and Mary Ama discuss how they came up with the name, and their experience of Akairo a te Taunga at Auckland Museum.

The story of Akairo a te Taunga

From May to September 2016, community knowledge holders helped enrich the Museum's information for over 900 items in the Cook Islands Collection.

The taunga were brought out of storage to be examined, conserved, measured, photographed and re-housed into safe and accessible storage. Our knowledge holders examined each object type and told us the correct indigenous name, island of origin (where discernible), and the methods and materials used to create the object.

For an example of the many stories told, watch the video to hear Ma'ara Maeva tell the legend of the Mangaian brothers Raumea and Te Uanuku - and how this story has distinguished Mangaian carvings to this day.

Meitaki ma'ata, thank you

We are endlessly grateful to all of the community who came in as part of the project: knowledge holders, makers, artists, community members young and old. By breathing on the treasures of their ancestors, the community has brought the collection to life - and we hope they will continue to do so in the future. 

The collection as it is now has been enriched thanks to the knowledge and wisdom of: Rev William Hakaoro, Mary Ama, Kimi Hakaoro, Ota Tuaeu, and Ma'ara Maeva.

Explore the Cook Islands Collection online

The records and images of many of the objects worked on are now in Collections Online, accessible from anywhere in the world.

Visit the Pacific Collection Access Project

If you would like to join in on an upcoming visit to the project, please contact Baraba Afitu.
e. bafitu@aucklandmuseum.com.