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Mauri! This week is Kiribati Language Week and to celebrate we will share Kiribati items from our collections, light up the museum walls with national colours of blue, red, yellow, white and share a video of knowledge holders visiting our Kiribati collection at the Museum, as well as a Zoom panel discussion.
Ko na mauri! Te inga ma te kukurei n anoiko ba tina itamaomao ni bukamarua rungaean ara bong ae moan te kakawaki ni katonua Wiikin te Taetae ni Kiribati iaon Aotearoa, Nutiran.
Te bong aei ea kaman namataki taekana ma rongorongona irouia te baronga n aomata ao man kabaekekeaki iroun te Tautaeka n Nutiran ba ena ongo meang, maiaki, maeo ma mainuku, ao te aonnaba ae banin.
Tamaki Paera Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum bon aia bangota ara bakatibu n Tungaru ike a kawakinaki iai te rabakau ma te rongorongo ni Kiribati ibukira ma natira ao tibura ngkai ao ibukin taai aika ana roko.
Tekeraoi ni Wiikin te Taetae ni Kiribati 2020.
Ara bau te Mauri te Raoi ao te Tabomoa!
Charles Enoka Kiata, MNZM
Auckland, New Zealand
We were fortunate to be joined by esteemed members of the Kiribati community in New Zealand, who came to Auckland Museum to discuss some of the Kiribati collection items, and share their knowledge about them.
In this video, Auckland Musuem's Ma'ara Maeva was joined by Dr. Matikora Itonga Marea, Mr. Baitika Toum, Charles Enoka Kiata and Dr. Janet O’Connor.
Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum held an online talanoa session through Zoom video conference on Monday, 13th July 2020. This is entitled "Kiribati treasures: Te Kun and taona n riri" and it highlights a migratory bird and a dance costume from the Natural history and Pacific collection of Auckland Museum. This talanoa session was part of the celebration of Kiribati Language Week 2020.
We were joined by Nei Kaetaeta Watson, Nei Louisa Humphry, Dr Janet O’Connor and Charles Enoka. Background information about treasures were shared by Rebecca Bray and Fuli Pereira. The panelists and participants engaged in an inspiring discussion that included exploring the migratory habits of Te Kun as well as the cultural and customary use of the taona n riri and its role in the identity of Kiribati dance worldwide. Our heartfelt gratitude to our panelists for sharing their knowledge and expertise with us all.
These items from our collection offer a glimpse into the Kiribati way of life, an introduction to the island's people, customs and a detailed exploration of precious and daily objects.
Te katau te nana. Waist ornament of coconut shell discs. This is made up of two components; te kora (sennit cord) and te nana (coconut shell discs). It is a double stranded piece. Te kora is constructed using the two-ply technique. These are used to thread numerous te nana, which are perforated in the centre. It is of various shades of its natural, dark brown colour. They have been drilled or cut from a larger piece, resulting in relatively large circumference and thin depth. The uniqueness of this piece is marked by the threading of miniature te nana.
Te katau te tumara. Waist ornament of nautilus shells. This is worn, by girls and young women, on top of the skirt as part of their dance attire. This is made up of two components; te tumara (nautilus shells) and te kora (cordage of sennit fibre). Te kora is made by first creating three sets of two-ply te kora. Subsequently, these are plaited together using three-ply technique, forming the basis of te katau. Off-white tumara, numbered in thirty-four, are worked into te kora by threading and lashing each tumara. Te tumara are perforated for this purpose. A missing shell is indicated by a gap within row of tumara. The remaining kora, without te tumara, are used for tying purposes. Women are tasked with making te katau te tumara, however the perforations are completed by men.
Te ikuiku. Pounder. This is a wooden pounder. It has been carved entirely out of one piece of wood. It is made from ngea (pemphis acidula). The handle is cylindrical with a carved node that tapers outwards on the end. Opposite, a larger cylindrical form makes up the mallet part of the pounder. The surface area of the base of the mallet segment is smooth and polished. The grain of the wood runs horizontal to the pounder. There are small circular cavities dappled over the surface area of te ikuiku. These portray where branches may have been present before te ngea became te ikuiku. The wood ranges in tone from mid to light brown. Hafted marks across te ikuiku surface areas portray the kind of tool used to carved its form.
Te reeree. Sword. This is an ornament the reeree. A length of kanni (coconut palm wood) has been cut, carved and filed into a cylindrical form to portray the purpose of a handle and barbed blade in one component. An exposed length with no attachments at its base shows a circular cross-section that is convex. This is the handle area. A width of ira (pandanus leaf has been wrapped around the area where the handle and barbed blade intersect. It has been bound off with irauea (cordage of human hair). Additionally the irauea has also be used to create a checkered weave pattern into the width of the ira. A fringed length has been left after one of the bindings. Two pairs of the noko (coconut midrib) line the sides of the blade area from beneath the width of the ira towards the pointed end of the reeree. Individual wii ni bakoa (sharks teeth) has been continuously inlayed between the pairs of the noko.
The Te Kun or Pacific golden plover is a truly amazing Pacific wanderer. These small shorebirds breed on the summer Arctic tundra of Alaska and Siberia which has an abundance of insect food and few predators to pose a risk to their nests.
However, as the weather grows colder in August and September the birds migrate southwards into the Pacific, to the islands of Kiribati, Oceania and even as far south as New Zealand. Here they feed on the shoreline of lagoons and estuaries on a broad diet of worms, crabs, insects, spiders and plant seeds and berries.
In March and April, the birds travel northwest to Japan or Hawaii, where they rest for a few weeks before making the final long journey back to their breeding grounds. Their remarkable annual journey ranges from 16,000 – 27,000 km with each leg made as a non-stop flight of 3–8 days.
Auckland Museum holds three specimens (LB2767-LB2769) of this species from Kiribati. All are study skins collected in 1937 from Canton Island by Major Geoffrey A Buddle (of Auckland) during the Total Solar Eclipse expedition. The specimens are held in our collections and cared for by our Land Vertebrates department. You can see images of the specimens on our collections online resource here.
Colour in a Te Kun pacific golden plover, strolling along a Kiribati beach.
Discover the story of ‘Aia Karaki nikawai i-Tungaru. Myths and legends of the Gilbertese [Kiribati] people. 1942’, the first book on Kiribati culture published in Gilbertese [i-Kiribati].
Do you know of anyone from the Gilbert Islands (now known as Kiribati) who enlisted in the New Zealand Army during WWI? Our Online Cenotaph team have identified 25 i-Kiribati servicemen but would love to hear from you if you know of any others not represented on this list.
From Sunday 12 July we will light up the Museum for a week in the colours of the Kiribati flag. See the building illuminate in blue, red, yellow and white.