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Mauri Ora
Maori Treasures from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

  • Image of "Taiaha kura (chief's long fighting staff) called Te Rongotaketake Lent by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa"

    Taiaha kura (chief's long fighting staff) called Te Rongotaketake
    Lent by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

    Japanese Archaeology and Special Exhibition (Heiseikan) Special Exhibition Gallery 1 & 2
    January 23, 2007 (Tue) - March 18, 2007 (Sun)

    Features the art of Maori, the indigenous people of New Zealand.This will be the first major exhibition in Japan to introduce the culture and arts of Maori.

 General Information
Period Tuesday, January 23 - Sunday, March 18, 2007
Venue Heiseikan, Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00
(last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays except February 12 (National Holiday); Tuesday, February 13
Admissions Adults 600 (500)yen
University Students 400 (300)yen
High school students and under: free
Persons over 70: free (please show proof of age upon entry)
* ( ) indicate prices for those in groups of 20 or more.
* persons with disabilities and one accompanying person are admitted free.
Access 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno station (Ginza line, Hibiya line) and Tokyo Metro Nezu station (Chiyoda line)
Organized by Tokyo National Museum, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
With the Support of New Zealand Embassy, Tourism New Zealand (www.newzealand.com)
With the Sponsorship of Toyota Transportation Co., Ltd., Toyofuji Shipping Co., Ltd.
With the Cooperation of Air New Zealand(www.airnewzealand.com), Matsushita Electric Works, Ltd.
General Inquiries 03-5777-8600 (Hello Dial : in Japanese)
 Related lecture
  Commemorative lecture (in Japanese)
Where Did the Maori People Come from?
by Intoh Michiko (Professor, Department of Social Research)
Auditorium, Heiseikan
Saturday, February 3, 2007 at 13:30 - 15:00
Lectures Held Jointly with The Japan Society for New Zealand Studies (in Japanese)
  Auditorium, Heiseikan
Saturday, February 10, 2007 at 13:30 - 15:00

Maori's Koru —the Spiral Motif that Represents Connections between the Past and Future—
by Naito Kyoko (Professor, Musashi University)
The World of Whale Rider
by Sawada Shinichi (Associate professor, Hirosaki University)
  Film viewing
  Whale Rider
(C)2002 South Pacific Pictures Productions Ltd / ApolloMedia GmbH & Co.5
Filmproduktion KG
Whale Rider  (2002)
Auditorium, Heiseikan
February 6-9, 11, 12, 2007  10:30/14:30 (with Japanese subtitles)
*Free with Museum admission
A story of an adolescent Maori girl's challenge and triumph of living the tribal tradition. Directed by Niki Caro, Starring Keisha Castle-Hughes; Based on the novel by Witi Ihimaera.
Maori Designs
Orientation Room, Heiseikan
Tuesday, January 23 - Sunday, March 18, 2007
*Recommended for High school students and under
*Free with Museum admission
Learn about the meanings of Maori designs to feel and understand the expressions, narratives and the stories of the Maori and their ancestors.
  Other Exhibitions
Prized Treasures of Chinese Art — from The National Museum of China
Heiseikan, Special Exhibition Gallery 3 & 4
Tuesday, January 2 - Sunday, February 25, 2007
New Year's Celebration at the Tokyo National Museum
Tuesday, January 2 - Sunday, January 28, 2007
*Free with Museum admission
Celebrating the New Year 2007, the Tokyo National Museum will open from January 2. The New Year exhibition will feature the year's zodiac sign boar, and the museum will host various family events.
 Major Works on Display *All works are lent by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Shark-tooth necklace   Shark-tooth necklace
Nga Kakano or Te Tipunga, 1100 - 1500
Ngati Hei, Ngati Whanaunga
From Opito Beach, Coromandel region; Made of shark teeth

The great white shark (also regarded as a supernatural being) is known as mango taniwha. It is admired by Maori for its legendary qualities of strength, speed and ferocity. Maori made necklaces out of bone, stone, and shell as well as teeth. A shark-tooth necklace of this kind was rare.
Ngarara (lizard) pendant   Ngarara (lizard) pendant
Nga Kakano or Te Tipunga, 1100 - 1500
Iwi (tribe) unknown; From Gisborne region; Made of whale bone

This ngarara (lizard) is made of whale bone. An ornament shaped like an animal was believed to have the mauri (spiritual qualities) of the animal it represented. Ornaments in animal form are very rare, both in New Zealand and in the tropical Pacific islands from which the ancestors of Maori come.
Tauihu (canoe prow)   Tauihu (canoe prow)
Late Te Puawaitanga or early Te Huringa I, 1500 - 1900
Ngati Toa (attributed); From lower North Island; Made of wood, paua shell

At the tauihu's top is the peaked head and protruding tongue of a human form. Two large carved spirals behind the head represent the parent deities of the Maori creation story, Ranginui (the sky father) and Papatuanuku (the earth mother). These tauihu became tribal heirlooms, passing from generation to generation.
Pou tokomanawa (male post figure)   Pou tokomanawa (male post figure)
Te Huringa I, 1800 - 1900
Ngati Kahungunu
From Wairoa region; Made of totara wood, paint

Pou tokomanawa (central support posts) stand in the center of a meeting house. They extend up to the ridge pole which supports the roof. Many Pou tokomanawa have a male or female ancestor carved at the base. The female Pou tokomanawa symbolizes the power to give birth and sustain life. The male figure emphasizes the power of procreation. One hand grips his genitals, while the pendant around his neck links him to his ancestors.
Pataka (storehouse)   Pataka (storehouse)
Te Huringa I, 1839
Ngati Pikiao
Carved by Te Metara and others; Made of totara wood, paua shell

Food and precious objects were stored in the pataka. Carvings that exemplify the link to ancestors were elaborated on the building. In the exhibition, a pataka and wharenui (meeting house) will be built to represent the Maori atmosphere.
Toki poutangata (ceremonial adze)   Toki poutangata (ceremonial adze)
Te Puawaitanga or early Te Huringa I, 1500 - 1900
Iwi (tribe) unknown; Made of wood, pounamu (New Zealand jade), fiber

When a meeting house was to be built, a large tree was felled for the ridge pole. A chief might use a toki poutangata to make the ritual first cut. The chief wielded the toki as a symbol of his authority and tribal leadership.
Toki poutangata are made of the finest materials. They are tribal heirlooms, given personal names, and sometimes credited with spiritual powers.
Matau (fish hook)   Matau (fish hook)
Te Huringa I, 1800 - 1900
Iwi (tribe) unknown; Made of paua shell, wood, fiber

Matau have been expertly fashioned from wood, bone, shell, and New Zealand flax fiber. The care with which they have been made indicates their importance.
Taiaha kura (chief�31 s long fighting staff) called Te Rongotaketake   Taiaha kura (chief's long fighting staff) called Te Rongotaketake
Early Te Huringa I, 1800 - 1900
Ngati Ira Kai Putahi
Made of wood, kaka feathers, dog hair, flax fiber, rushes, paua shell

The red parrot feathers and white dog hair mark this as the weapon of a chief. It has a personal name, Te Rongotaketake.
Weapons of great status were sometimes exchanged to seal peace arrangements. This taiaha was passed between two Maori tribes in about 1819. Around 1847 it was again gifted as a symbol of peace, this time to a senior officer in the New Zealand colonial police force.
Mere pounamu   Mere pounamu (New Zealand jade weapon) called Tawhito Whenua
Te Puawaitanga, 1500 - 1800
Muaupoko, Ngati Ira, Ngati Toa, Ngati Kahungunu
Made of pounamu (New Zealand jade)

This old and famous mere pounamu has the personal name Tawhito Whenua and in the early 1800s was owned by Te Kekerengu, a rangatira (chief) of the Ngati Ira tribe.
During inter-tribal fighting, Ngati Toa chief Te Rangihaeata captured Te Kekerengu and his mother. As they were about to be executed, this chiefly woman sang a song of farewell to her ancestral lands. Her song was so moving that Te Rangihaeata spared both her son's life and hers.In gratitude, Te Kekerengu presented Te Rangihaeata with this mere.
Kahu kuri (dog skin cloak)   Kahu kuri (dog skin cloak)
Te Huringa I, 1800 - 1900
Te Ati Awa (attributed); Made of flax fiber, dog skin strips

This magnificent cloak is made from strips of skin taken from the kuri (Pacific dog). The strips were arranged by hair color, then sewn with painstaking precision to a foundation of tightly woven New Zealand flax fiber. Each Kahu kuri had its own personal name and carefully preserved history. On ceremonial occasions these cloaks were often exchanged between people of rank, in recognition of the high status of both giver and receiver.
Kahu huruhuru (feather cloak)   Kahu huruhuru (feather cloak)
Te Huringa I, 1800 - 1900
Tuhoe; Made of flax fiber, kereru, tui, and kaka feathers
Deposited 1899, as part of the Elsdon Best Collection

The vivid pattern of this kahu huruhuru comes from feathers of native New Zealand birds. The green and white feathers are from the kekeru (wood pigeon), while the red and orange feathers are from the kaka, a forest parrot.
Hei Tiki (neck pendant in human form)   Hei tiki (neck pendant in human form)
Te Puawaitanga, 1500 - 1800
Iwi (tribe) unknown; Made of pounamu (New Zealand jade), paua shell, pigment

The most distinctive type of Maori neck pendants take the form of a highly stylized human figure called the tiki. Hei tiki are among the most valued of all Maori ornaments. Those who wear a hei tiki carry with them the stories of ancestors who made the tiki and who wore it before them. They are finely carved in pounamu (New Zealand jade), a hard, durable, and beautiful stone.
Heru (ornamental comb)   Heru (ornamental comb)
Te Puawaitanga, 1500 - 1800
Iwi (tribe) unknown
Made of whale bone, paua shell

Long hair was high fashion for chiefly Maori men at that time. The hair was oiled, braided, coiled on the head in a topknot, and embellished with bird feathers and heru. Heru were an indication of status and authority. Like any personal objects associated with the sacred head area, they were carefully kept away from any casual handling.
Touch this stone
This stone is the spiritual anchor of the exhibition, connecting it with its home in Aotearoa New Zealand. It is called a 'mauri stone' and is made of pounamu. Pounamu is the rare New Zealand jade prized by Maori for its strength, durability, and beauty, as well as for its ancestral links.
Mauri is the life force that exists in all animate and inanimate objects and that connects all things.
At the exhibition, You are welcome to touch the stone-to join your mauri with the mauri of this stone. However, we ask you not to touch other treasures in the exhibition.