Te Aho Mutunga Kore, the eternal threads of knowledge

Te Aho Mutunga Kore have partnered with Britomart to showcase our Māori and Pasifika people and taonga, in an outdoor exhibition at the Britomart Pavilions. On this page, see the full range of photographs taken for the exhibition. 

The establishment phase of this kaupapa is made possible with the significant and generous support of Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Outdoor exhibition photos taken by Petone Groom.

BRITOMART PAVILIONS
SUMMER 2023/24, FREE

 

Te Aho Mutunga Kore is the new textile and fibre research centre at Tāmaki Paenga Hira, that will support community derived projects and engagements, and will continue the crucial work of access to taonga/cultural treasures.

To celebrate the centre's launch, the co-directors and staff of the centre offer this photographic exhibition of textiles from the Auckland Museum’s extensive Māori and Pacific collections. The individuals in these photographs whakapapa to the taonga they are photographed with or are members of the source communities that created the treasures. Although residing distances from our cultural homelands the threads continue to bind, even if, as one participant states, bittersweet are such essential expressions of our identities and evocations of home as they link us to the past and the future.

Gabriel Tongaawhikau

Kaitaka huaki. Flax Cloak. Aotearoa New Zealand.

Neetia Ioane Tataua

Te ano ni bakwe/booro. Ball. Kiribati.

+About Gabriel Tongaawhikau

Kia ora I am Gabriel Tongaawhikau.

The kaitaka is a kākahu that makes me think of the skill and expertise our tūpuna held and have handed down as taonga tuku iho. It reminds me of the tūpuna wāhine in my whakapapa. The piupiu we still have and hold on to in our whānau, all the way down to the kōrero of my kuia Kenimā who wove many kākahu in her time.


Kaitaka huaki. Flax Cloak. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is not yet known. Made with harakeke New Zealand flax and yarn. Sir George Grey collection 299. Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1503.

+About Neetia Ioane Tataua

Mauri, my name is Neetia Ioane Tataua and I am from Tarawa and Aranuka in Kiribati. I am holding our Kiribati ball (booro) made from dried pandanus tree leaf  for playing a game called 'te kabwe. This reminds me of my home island when we used to weave booro before the games started.

The pandanus is a special material as it is one of the main trees of Kiribati that provides us everything for our cultural living. We can drink from young coconuts and spades (ari) foods provide timber and thatches, medicines, indoor and outdoor mats, balls, necklaces and skirts for dancing. 


Te ano ni bakwe/booro. Ball. Kiribati. Maker is not yet known. Made with pandanus leaf. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1948.268, 30396. 

Betty Butiaua

Te abein. Lidded basket. Kiribati.

Pamata Toleafoa

Pale, tuiga. Forehead piece from ceremonial headdress. American Samoa.

Nigel Borell

Pōtae tauā. Mourning cap. Aotearoa New Zealand.

+About Betty Butiaua

Mauri, ngai arau Betty Butiaua ao ikawai rake nte aba ae Kiribati n ana capital ae Tarawa.

I rinea te bwaene mai buakon bwai ni Kiribati ake a kawakinaki nte Museum, bwa aei are a kabongana ara ikawai bwa nnen oneaia ke aia bwai aika a rangi ni kakawaki imwain rokon aia bwai Imatang. Anne are a rangi ni kakabongana ibukin mwamwanangaia naba. Ao e kawakinaki ngkai bwa kanuringa ibukiia rooro ma rooro bwa ena aki bua aron norana ma karaoana.

Greetings, my name is Betty Butiaua. I was raised on the island of Tarawa which is the capital of Kiribati.

I chose the basket (baene/ kuaroun) from the artefacts kept in the Museum as my displayed object. The importance of choosing this basket is that it is one of the most useful and helpful objects used by our ancestors a long time ago. They used it to keep their food from insects and flies as like their cupboards. They also used it to store their important clothings especially that are special for occasions. Men used to keep their favourite tobacco inside these mini basket and also they kept important stuff that are precious for them like taonga. And lastly they used it as gift to guests and other important people in their community.


Te abein. Lidded basket. Kiribati. Maker is not yet known. Made with te ira (pandanus leaf - the red and green kind), te kora (sennit rope) and te ira n atu (human hair). Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1939.103. 

+About Pamata Toleafoa

Talofa lava, my name is Pamata Diaz Toleafoa. I hail from the villages of Salelesi and Satapuala in Upolu, Samoa. I was born in Hastings and raised in Mangere, South Auckland. I am currently serving as the Curator Pasifika for Ngā Pātaka Kōrero o Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland Libraries and a member of the Pacific Advisory Group for Tāmaki Paenga Hira, Auckland War Memorial Museum. For as long as I can remember, I've always been fascinated by the tuiga and its embellishment. My experiences and understanding of the tuiga and its compartments were through texts, images and stories revealing its genesis and transformation.

To be in a space where I got to touch and scrutinise the pale fuiono gifted by the Satele family to Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum was a humbling experience. To have the opportunity to study such measina, create replications of the pale fuiono and then be embraced by the indigenous craft reaffirms the significance of its cultural identity.

I was most taken by the shells' glistening surfaces and how their repetitive placement was simple but elegant. The pale fuiono signals our historical relationship with Tonga, from which the nautilus shells were primarily sourced. To wear such measina celebrates our continuous and unique relationship with the moana.


Pale, tuiga. Forehead piece from ceremonial headdress. American Samoa. Maker is Tuifa’asisina Korina Seiuli Lee. Made with cotton textile, u’a bark (paper mulberry), mother of pearl and seashells. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 2019.54.2.

+About Nigel Borell

Kia ora, I am Nigel Borell with tribal affiliations to Pirirākau, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Whakatōhea, Te Rarawa and Ngāti Apakura. I am Curator Taonga Māori here at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum. I am also a practicing artist with a passion and expertise in both customary and contemporary Māori art. This mourning cap has been woven and made from dyed seaweed. It is extremely rare and very fragile. When someone of distinguished standing passed away the widow or the whānau pane (bereaved family members) would adorn a mourning cap or headpiece such as this to acknowledge their passing but also to honour their mana. To me these items represent special moments whereby we acknowledge our loved ones and pay tribute to them with such delicate and eloquent taonga such as this mourning cap.

While the taonga itself is very rare (one of only three in our entire collection), the opportunity to hold it and be photographed with it, is also extremely rare. I have great respect and admiration for the maker's knowledge, the cultural thinking behind these items and the unique place it holds in our Māori tangihanga practices. In bringing this item into the light, we are allowed to share its unique story and the unique practice of mourning caps within Māori culture.

I am always drawn to items that are a little more obscure or not readily known within our vast Museum collection. The sheer expertise in makers knowledge along with the unique function of this item is something that has always fascinated me and is something that carries great mana.


Pōtae tauā. Mourning cap. Possibly Taranaki. Maker is not yet known. Made with harakeke New Zealand flax and yarn. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1990.234. 

Tiare Pito

Pare kaka’o. Fernland reed hat. Mangaia or Rarotonga.

Jasmine Tuiā

‘Talofa Oi’. Western Samoa and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Jasmine Tuiā

Ili tea. Fan. Samoa.

+About Tiare Pito

Kia orā na,

My name is Tiare Pito and I am of Cook Islands (Manihiki, Palmerston, Tongareva), Pa'umotu (Anaa), Sāmoan (Moto'otua), and New Zealand Māori (Ngāti Maniapoto) heritage.

It is a passion of mine to explore the dying arts of our Polynesian cultures. This Cook Island pare (hat) was woven in a style that, as far as I am aware, is no longer practiced. Being able to connect with a style of weaving that is essentially extinct, is both a bitter-sweet and humbling experience, and inspires me to be more vigilant in trying to preserve cultural gifts that are still alive today.


Pare kaka’o. Fernland reed hat. Mangaia or Rarotonga. Maker is not yet known. Made with fernland reed, Miscanthus floridulus. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1956.173.1. 

+About Jasmine Tuiā

Talofa lava, my name is Jasmine Tuiā and I am an artist from the villages of Matautu Lefaga, Malifa Apia and Falefā, Anoama’a. This embroidered tapa piece is from a series of tapa su’i works (embroidered barkcloth) inspired by my memories of home in Sāmoa. A special series that the Museum now cares for, for future generations and tapa makers. 


‘Talofa Oi’. Western Samoa and Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is Jasmine Tuiā. Made with siapo (bark cloth) embroidered with cotton thread. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 2023.17.5.

+About Jasmine's Ili

Malo lava, this Ili tea (fan) caught my eye while working on this project and thinking about a meaningful measina for me to be photographed with. I am a huge fan (pun intended) of ili and grew up being the fan holder for my nana and elders on most Sunday to'ona'i. This ili tea is one I've never seen before and is quite special to learn about its importance in Sāmoan occasions. My favourite part about it is that it looks like my hair!


Ili tea. Fan. Samoa. Maker is not yet known. Made with tuāniu (midribs of coconut leaf) and dyed fau (hibiscus fibre). Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1929.303, 4343.2. 

Florie Takalo Dausabea

Liah kui vis alualu. Tooth necklace. Solomon Islands.

Te Hemo Ata Henare

Kahu kurī. Tōpuni. Dogskin cloak. Aotearoa.

Karleen Suzann Tiare Nerida Gueho

Tirpaliki. Bag. Santa Cruz.

+About Florie Takalo Dausabea

Halo oloketa, my name is Florie Takalo Dausabea. I am from Kwara'ae and Kwaio (Malaita Province), Marovo (Western Province) and Nuatabu (Choiseul Province) in the Solomon Islands. I am a mother of two wonderful sons and an educator. I enjoy teaching our young people about the history, languages, culture, traditions, dances, music and stories of the Solomon Islands.

I am holding a dog tooth necklace (Liah kui vis alualu), a form of currency traditionally used by the people from Malaita and Guadalcanal. This necklace reminds me of a decorative piece I saw my koko'o (grand uncle) wear when I was young. His was a single string necklace made from romu (red shell) and interspersed with dogs teeth. The dogs teeth made it stand out amongst other necklaces he owned.

I chose this taonga as it is rare to find or see a complete set like this in the Solomon Islands today except in Museums around the world. Dogs teeth are an important form of currency or wealth traditionally for people from Malaita and Guadalcanal. It is often used with other forms of currency like Tafuliae (shell money) to settle disputes or conflicts within tribes/families, for bridal exchanges, burial ceremonies, buying and exchanging of goods or as compensation when someone is murdered. It is an important part of our history and reminds us of the traditional systems we have in our societies on how to deal with conflict which in Solomon Islands we still use today. Furthermore, it shows how resourceful and innovative my ancestors were with what they had around them.


Liah kui vis alualu. Tooth necklace. Solomon Islands. Maker is not yet known. Made with dog's teeth, shell discs and string. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1928.253, 2898. 

+About Te Hemo Ata Henare

He Uri ahau no Rahiri. No Ngāti Kuri me Ngāti Kahu ōku Iwi. ko Taku ingoa ko Te Hemo Ata

He Uri ahau no Rahiri. No Ngāti Kuri me Ngāti Kahu ōku Iwi. Ko Taku ingoa ko Te Hemo Ata. Here is the quote from Waka Nene. I’d like people to hear his voice - Uri of Tamati Waka Nene:

“Friends! Whose potatoes do we eat? Whose were our blankets? These spears – are laid aside. What has Ngāpuhi now? The pakeha’s gun, his shot, his powders. Many months has he been in our whare’s. Many of his children are our children. Is not the land already gone? Is it not covered with men, with strangers, Foreigners – even as the grass and herbage – over whom we have no control.” – Tamati Waka Nene.


Kahu kurī. Tōpuni. Dogskin cloak. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is not yet known. Made with harakeke New Zealand flax and dog skin. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 282. 

+About Karleen Suzann Tiare Nerida Gueho

Nimula, my name is Karleen Suzann Tiare Nerida Gueho I’m from Santa Cruz, Temotu Province in the Solomon Islands. The woven basket I’m holding is made out of banana tree bark and it’s called tirpaliki. It’s used to store food commonly hanging in the middle of the house. It’s also given to brides to hold during marriage ceremonies, usually as a pair with one on each hand. 


Tirpaliki. Bag. Santa Cruz. Maker is not yet known. Made with banana tree bast fibre. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1932.454, 18494.2.

Vasiti Palavi

Kato alu. Ceremonial basket. Tonga.

Jimmy Ma'ia'i

Siapo mamanu. Freehand decorated bark-cloth. Samoa.

+About Vasiti Palavi

Si’oto ’ofa atu, my name is Vasiti Palavi and my role here at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum is the Acting Director of Collections & Research. As a proud Tongan and Māori woman I have been honoured with the privilege of working with the taonga/koloa across the collections at Tāmaki Paenga Hira | Auckland Museum.

At the centre of my work as a kaitiaki, leading a team of experts who care for our taonga | koloa in our collection is a hope that we create a cultural heritage legacy for the future. Our cultural heritage connects us to those who have gone before us, threads into the present, and talks to those who are still to come.

Kato alu

  • Exquisite mastery of weaving – great artistry, skill and ingenuity
  • Connection to the fonua of my whakapapa – ‘Eua where the alu plant grows and Vava’u where my grandmother’s lineage comes from
  • Rarity and
  • Ceremonial exchange
  • The privilege of being photographed with this kato alu fills me with immense joy and pride

 

Capturing the essence of my lineage, this kato alu basket represents a profound connection to my female lineage. Each weave tells a story of strength, tradition, and the enduring legacy of generations of remarkable women. My heart bursts with immense pride and joy, as this moment is a celebration of our shared heritage and the powerful bonds that tie us together. This basket, a symbol of our connection to the land and our whakapapa, carries the beauty of history, love, and the enduring essence of our ancestors.

The strands of the kato alua connecting and weaving together the four pillars of the Tongan culture - Faka’apa’apa (respect), loto tō (humility), tauhi vā (nurturing relationships) and mamahi’i me’a (loyalty/passion) to provide a platform for our families and communities to talanoa, for their voices, knowledge and ways of knowing to be amplified. It fills me with great pride that the work we do in growing knowledge and partnerships with our communities are at the core of the work that we do at Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland Museum.

'Ofa lahi atu.


Kato alu. Ceremonial basket. Tonga. Maker is not yet known. Made of alu epipremnum pinnatum, coconut leaf midrib and sennit rope. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1938.13, 23625. 

+About Jimmy Ma'ia'i

My name is Jimmy Ma’ia’i, I’m an artist and I work at Auckland Museum as the Pacific Collection Manager. I am of mixed Samoan (Fasito’outa & Sapapali’i) and Scottish heritage.

I spotted this siapo mamanu (free-hand siapo) whilst researching tapa some years ago, and I had always admired it; the richness of the colour, the shine and the patterning were unlike anything I had seen before.

Being photographed with this siapo was an amazing experience, to finally see it in the flesh was unreal. It reminded me of my aiga, my studies and I felt very fortunate to have had that opportunity. This siapo represents my family, my culture and my community.


Siapo mamanu. Freehand decorated bark-cloth. Samoa. Maker is not yet known. Made of paper mulberry, Broussonetia papyrifera. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 8481.

Atiata Rotiata

Bare ni uninga. Pillow case. Fanning Island, Kiribati.

Moaua Tooki

Te tibuta. Blouse. Nikunau Kiribati.

Dr Kahutoi Te Kanawa

Hiripa. Pair of slippers. Aotearoa New Zealand.

+About Atiata Rotiata

Mauri!

Arau Atiata Rotiata. Ngai kaain Kiribati ao ngai nkanne irinea te barenuninga bwa I rang ururinga au moantai ni karaoia ke ni bwaati ngke I moan teiao. Eanganai tinau bwa nna karaoia inanon au moan teiao. Bwa anne bon teuana naba mai buakon ara katei ni Kiribati. Ao arang kaungaaki naati aine bwa Ana rabakau ibukin mengaraoia inanon aia utu.


Bare ni uninga. Pillow case. Fanning Island, Kiribati. Maker is not yet known. Made with cotton and hand embroidery. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 2014.18.14.

+About Moaua Tooki

Kam na bane ni Mauri.

Arau Moaua Tooki ao kain Kiribati 🇰🇮 ngai. Te tibuta bon teuana naba rabakauia ainen Kiribati nte itutu ao anang kakamanena n tainako ibukin aia kaboraoi ni bobotaki nako ngke bon ononeaia ae anang  kukurei ni kamanena n tainako. Anne bon rikiaia ainen Kiribati mangkoa ni karokoa taai aikai.


Te tibuta. Blouse. Nikunau Kiribati. Maker is not yet known. Made with pink cotton lawn fabric. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 2001.12.17.

+About Dr Kahutoi Te Kanawa

Tēnā koutou, ko Kahutoi Te Kanawa toku ingoa. 

I come from a whakapapa line of kairaranga, and taniko was one of the very first things I learnt from my mum and grandmother. The importance of learning the preparation, process of refined work and working with muka has always been a special gift handed down, I honour this with a passion. I have learnt many other forms of mahi raranga and tukutuku as well, but most importantly is to share what I know as well. I have also taught many kairaranga.

The reason for me choosing the shoes was to show the innovation of the kairaranga, and not being so precious about how the tāniko is used, to me this is a iconic fashion statement. The intricate work involved in making these tāniko shoes shows the skills and technique of shaping as well.


Hiripa. Pair of slippers. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is not yet known. Made with harakeke New Zealand flax and leather. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 2002.78.1. 

Ashleigh Taupaki

Poi. Percussion and dance accessory. Aotearoa New Zealand.

George Niumeitolu Ma’ake Taukolo Funaki

Fan. Tonga.

Mason Lawlor

Topuni. Dogskin and muka cloak. Aotearoa New Zealand.

+About Ashleigh Taupaki

I am an artist of Māori (Ngāti Hako) and Samoan (Matautu Lefaga, Vailoa Faleata) descent. I chose this taonga because raupō is a swamp plant that was used for a myriad of purposes by Māori. It was once banned as a building material through legislation due to bushfire concerns, a disadvantage to many swamp-dwelling peoples. These poi needed to be held gently, like a baby, due to the fragile nature of aged raupō.


Poi. Percussion and dance accessory. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is not yet known. Made from strips of raupo plaited cords. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 782.

+About George Niumeitolu Ma'ake Taukolo Funaki

My name is George Niumeitolu Ma’ake Taukolo Funaki, I am of Tongan heritage, and I have recently pursued a diasporic approach within Pasifika experiences regarding my own creative practice within fashion design. My mother (Ana) hails from the Tongatapu village Ha’apai and my father (Silimani) is from Longolongo, Kolomotu’a. I don’t have any specific connections to the taonga I chose other than the fact that I associate the Tongan fan with my childhood – often present during Sunday church sermons and oddly warm summer afternoons.

I initially decided on a different taonga – the original which was much smaller than I anticipated, didn’t feel right, despite how beautiful the original was. The taonga I ended up choosing was much more scaled to size and felt sturdier.

I chose this taonga because I can identify with the campy flare that accessories such as Tongan fans are: their simply extensions to the ‘over the top’ ceremonial garbs that Tongan women dress themselves with, often accentuating the outfit as a whole and accompanying the koloa worn with such attires i.e., kie kie or ta’o vala. The image of well-dressed church going Mothers/Aunties is ingrained in my mind when I think of beautiful, traditional dress.


Fan. Tonga. Maker is not yet known. Made with dyed and natural fau (hibiscus fibre), feathers. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum, Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1978.100, 48340.2.

+About Mason Lawlor

I’m Mason, I come from Ngāti Pāhauwera and Ngāti Maru, but I grew up in Tāmaki.

As a traditional Māori weaver, I have an interest in kākahu, so I was naturally drawn to this very rare kahu kurī, made from the extinct Polynesian dog. The experience of not only being in the presence, but being embraced by it was quite emotional because of the mana such a kākahu has and the mastery of our tīpuna.


Topuni. Dogskin and muka cloak. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is not yet known. Made with muka and strips of dog skin, with hair attached. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 280.

Olivia Taouma

‘Ula fala. Pandanus keys necklace. Samoa.

Vicki Southon

Kahu huruhuru. Feather and harakeke cloak. Aotearoa.

+About Olivia Taouma

Talofa lava, o lo’u igoa o Olivia Taouma I am the Pule Le Va at the Museum, leading our Pacific Dimension and Strategy. I hail from the Samoan villages of Poutasi, Faleasi'u and Sapapali'i, as well as England, Scotland and Germany. 

The ‘Ula Fala is a very special measina for our Samoan people as it is worn by our Samoan chiefs and orators on special cultural occasions. It depicts honour and status. Red is the colour associated with high rank, making it hard not to miss. 

For me this is a very special, personal measina as it reminds me of my father, the late Papali’i Pita Taouma, who held a few Samoan titles, the highest being Papali’i from Sapapali’i in Savai’i. He wore the ‘Ula Fala often, speaking with such eloquence and mana in both Samoan and English. He was a great advocate for our Samoan immersion and bilingual language learning in Aotearoa, being a founder of the first Samoan early childhood education centre the A’oga Fa’a Samoa, as well as our Arts Sector (especially music, dance and theatre), and was the first Samoan dentist in Auckland. He was an inspiration to many people, especially me. 


‘Ula fala. Pandanus keys necklace. Samoa. Maker is Anae Faleseu. Made with fruit keys of the fala tree (pandanus tree) and red coat paint. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 2015.22.18.

+About Vicki Southon

Vicki Southon of Ti Atiawa, Te Arawa. Novice Kakahu weaver. I am truly humbled to have had the opportunity to wear a kakahu taonga. I was awestruck by the intricacies and skill of the weaver who wove this taonga and the wairua that embraced me when I had it around my shoulders. Something I will always treasure. 

Nga mihi nui.


Kahu huruhuru. Cloak. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is yet known. Made with harakeke, kererū and kakā feathers. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1994.179.

Starr Ratapu

Pōtae whiri. Braided hat. Aotearoa New Zealand.

Bess Kingi

Kahu kererū. Feather and harakeke cloak. Aotearoa New Zealand.

Maia Faddy

Pākē. Tī kōuka Cloak, thatch. Aotearoa New Zealand.

+About Starr Ratapu

Ko Starr Ratapu taku ingoa, ko Rongowhakaata rāua Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki taku iwi. He Collection Manager, taonga Māori ahau.

My great nanna, Matē Pe Ratapu, was a well-known weaver of pōtae in Manutūkē. While she passed away before I was born, she lives on through my dad’s stories and her taonga, some of which are in Te Papa’s Rongowhakaata collection. The skill of weaving has unfortunately been lost in my immediate family, but I hope to bring this back to the light through my own learning journey soon.

There’s an entire blooper reel behind this picture - Richard (our photographer) took creative directing to another level!

I chose this specific pōtae whiri from Tāmaki Paenga Hira’s collection as I love its contemporary take on a traditional form. It was woven by Tangimoe Clay (Whakatōhea, Ngāti Ngahere) and purchased by the Museum in 2015. Tangimoe learned her practice from kuia Maggie Tai, highlighting the significance of passing down knowledge through generations.


Pōtae whiri. Braided hat. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is not yet known. Made with undyed harakeke and strips of multicoloured cloth material. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 2015.100.83.

+About Bess Kingi

Kō Taupiri te maunga

Kō Waikato te awa

Kō Tainui te Waka

Kō Ihu Karaiti taku Kai whakaora

Kō Horahora ki Rangiriri tōku paa

Kō Ngati Naho te Hapuu

Kō Bess Kingi ahau…engari, kō Whitianga ki Ngāti hei, taku Kainga noho mo ngā tau, toru tekau.

I felt the mana & spiritually safe in the kākahu l chose to wear.


Kahu kererū. Kererū feather cloak. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is not yet known. Made with harakeke New Zealand flax, kererū feathers and yarn. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1948.66, 30041.

+About Maia Faddy

I have always adored the beauty and significance of these taonga that were once worn by our tupuna. I have seen Pākē in books and cases but never one so old in person before. To get to not only see one, but to touch it and wear it, was such a privilege. At first it felt daunting – this taonga was so precious and I didn't want to break it or damage it. But once I had it draped over my shoulders, I was honoured and I could feel its mana, and the mana of the tupuna that once wore it over their shoulders.  


Pākē. Cloak, thatch. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is not yet known. Made with tī kōuka with full coverage of thatch. Cabbage tree and cotton fibre. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki ​Paenga Hira. 1992.291.

Jiulyn Pincham

Bilum. String bag. Sasamunga W Choiseul, Solomon Islands.

Liam Kokaua

Carving. Human Figure at top. Rarotonga/Cook Islands.

Deborah Phillips

Kahu kiwi. Cloak, kiwi feathers. Aotearoa New Zealand.

+About Jiulyn Pincham

My name is Jiulyn Pincham and I live in Auckland, New Zealand. I am from the Western Province of the Solomon Islands. I came from Simbo Island and Choiseul Province.

I feel my ancestors when I'm in that room amongst all our Solomon Islands taonga in there. It is so good to see the Solomon Islands items we have in the Auckland Museum.

I chose this string bag known as kuza in Choiseul province because It gives me a sense of pride and identity to represent my island origin of Choiseul Province. This kuza is always carried by a woman wherever she goes. A Choiseul woman never goes anywhere without her kuza. This kuza is still widely used in present day.


Bilum. String bag. Sasamunga W Choiseul, Solomon Islands. Maker is not yet known. Made with fibre. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1934.145

+About Liam Koka'ua

Liam Kokaʻua, Ngāti Makea Ārera, Rarotonga.

I had my doubts this was a pre-colonial taonga because of the rough style it is carved. But holding it up close and feeling it, especially the dark tapa, made me rethink my evaluation.

I chose this taonga because it is a prime example of the Rarotongan carving style, and representative of the many of its larger brothers and sisters currently sitting in European and American museums. Most importantly, this atua rākau is a depiction of our supreme creator Tangaroa, his image emits a huge spiritual power within my genetic memory.

In the numerous atua rākau that exist, numerous descendants are depicted as springing forth from the head primogenitor (in this smaller carving the descendants are stylised as triangular notches). This, as well as the phallic symbol, make this clear to me it is Tangaroa. Also how these carved images were so highly revered by my ancestors in pre-colonial times, as they are often described in missionary accounts.

These atua rākau to me are survivors of prejudice both by the overzealous missionaries, as well as our own Cook Islands Māori people who have been taught to forsake these items in order to become accepted members of the new faith. There are numerous descriptions of the mass burnings of these atua rākau alongside the destruction of the marae and associated “god-houses” where they were kept. This was approved by the Rarotongan ariki to publicly demonstrate they have renounced “the old ways”. Therefore, this atua may have only just escaped being thrown into the flames alongside its counterparts. Maybe its relative small size enabled it to be more easily sent to England.

These atua rākau were always kept in numerous layers of tapa, often with ornate hand-painted designs. They were typically very long (up to 6 metres). This is one of the smallest known atua rākau in existence but it is only one of two which retains a tapa wrapping.


Carving. Human figure at top. Rarotonga/Cook Islands. Maker is not yet known. Made with carved wood and wrapped in tapa (barkcloth). Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1950.128.

+About Deborah Philips

I descend from Ngati Paoa, Ngati Hine, Moriori, Scotland and England. My name is Deborah Phillips.

I chose a kahu huruhuru to reflect my love of weaving feathers. The kahukiwi I wore was magnificent in its simplicity and exceptional level of skill.
The feeling I had when wearing it was electrifying. I felt deeply connected and grateful for the weaver, harakeke and manu.


Kahu kiwi. Cloak, kiwi feathers. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is yet known. Made with kiwi feathers and harakeke. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 2019.x.2.

Zoë Richardson

Bag. Aotearoa New Zealand.

Rose May Gueho

Basket. Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands.

Fuli Pereira

Pa ‘Kahoa’. Fish hooks adornment. Atafu Tokelau Islands.

+About Zoë Richardson

Ia Orana and Watawieh. My name is Zoë Richardson and I whakapapa to Tahiti (Raiatea), Pitcairn Island and Norfolk Island.

The Pitcairn collection at Tāmaki Paenga Hira is small, just like the tiny island southeast of Tahiti. This bag was made in Aotearoa New Zealand not Pitcairn Island, just like me and the two generations before me. The bag is made from pandanus leaf and woollen yarn which I see as a parallel to the story of the settling of Pitcairn Island with its distinct culture which is a mix of Tahitian and British traditions. For me, this bag represents the skill and resilience of the Tahitian women who sustained and shaped Pitcairn Island and carry that into today. 

At Tāmaki Paenga Hira I have the privilege of managing the photography team so the experience of being photographed with this taonga was multifaceted. I was proud to be representing my community in this incredible project and proud of the team I lead who put such care and skill into capturing the beauty of connection between people and taonga.


Bag. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is Hilda Young (from Pitcairn Island). Made with pandanus leaf and wool. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1993.198. 

+About Rose May Gueho

Nimula, my name is Rose May Gueho. I'm from the village of Luava Malo in Santa Cruz, Temotu Province, in the Solomon Islands.

I'm holding a banana fibre woven bag, which is typically used like a regular bag for women. However, it is also worn by men when they do the Nelo dance, which is done to celebrate and remember the lives of those who have passed on in that year.

I'm glad to know that the Museum is celebrating and preserving our cultural artefacts and sharing our traditions.


Basket. Santa Cruz Islands, Solomon Islands. Maker is not yet known. Made with banana fibre. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1987.77.

+About Fuli Pereira

Bio to come. 


Pa ‘Kahoa’. Fish hooks adornment. Atafu Tokelau Islands. Maker is Lomi Pio. Made with Kanava wood (Cordia subcordata), pearl shell and coconut fibre. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira. 2023.39.1.

Bobby Newson

Pākē. Cloak of tags. Aotearoa New Zealand.

Hikitia Harawira

Kahu huruhuru. Cloak. Aotearoa.

+About Bobby Newson

Te Pākē -  He kākahu ruruhau. I am honored to wear this Pākē. A shelter for my body and spirit – from the winds of life and winds of change.” 


Pākē. Cloak of tags. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is not yet known. Make with harakeke New Zealand flax rolled tags. Collection of Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 824.

+About Hikitia Harawira

I was drawn to this kaakahu before I looked into its korero and every chance I got I would sneak a peek. It’s adorned with Tui, Kererū, Kākā and Kiwi feathers, but what was so breathtaking for me was the kaupapa, which is woven with red, black, yellow and pink woolen yarn! It was presented to the Auckland Museum by King Te Rata in 1929, no reira e mihi ana ki te whare o te Kotahitanga.

I’ve just always found this cloak fascinating and have come to interpret it as a reminder of the wisdom and innovation our tupuna had, their ability to evolve, use new materials and adapt pre-European forms of kākahu, while holding steadfast to Te Ao Māori. Perhaps a visual metaphor befitting of the of the Kiingitanga Movement, and the foresight our tupuna had in responding to colonial challenges of the time and into this day and age.

It’s also a personal reminder of home on the shores of Aotea Harbor, and the memories I have (but didn’t understand at the time) of my marae, our kaumātua and the lengths they went to, to ensure their uri had a place to belong.


Kahu huruhuru. Cloak. Aotearoa New Zealand. Maker is not yet known. Made with kiwi, kakā and kererū feathers and multi-colored yarn. Collection of Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira. 1929.422.

This kaupapa is made possible with the significant and generous support of Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage