The Kauri Museum board member Takiri Pumipi (L) and general manager Dr Tracey Edge prepare a feather cloak for display

Significant homecoming for ‘treasure’

by Paul Campbell

A collection of treasured Maori artefacts or taonga that was bequeathed to The Kauri Museum 50 years ago, but held ever since at the Auckland Museum, is finally coming back to Kaipara.

Including ornate art carvings, known as Toi whakairo the work includes 162 items and was collected by pioneering resident Andrew Rintoul before 1913.

“Te Uri o Hau and The Kauri Museum are working closely, alongside Auckland Museum, to ensure that when these taonga return home, they are well cared for and can be preserved for generations to come,” said museum general manager and curator, Dr Tracey Wedge.

Te Uri o Hau kaumatua Hone Martin says the taonga are “incredibly significant to the Kaipara, and it will be an auspicious day when they return home. When the Rintoul Collection comes home tangata whenua will begin to unravel the stories these precious taonga hold, with the support of the Kauri Museum,” he says.

Originally deposited at Auckland Museum by the Rintoul family in 1925, the collection was bequeathed to The Kauri Museum in 1968, but remained on loan to the Auckland Museum. Discussions between the two museums began in 2017, prompting plans for the taonga to be returned.

Dr Wedge says having the important collection back will enhance The Kauri Museum’s ability to tell the story of the region. “We’re looking forward to unravelling the secrets these taonga hold. I’m sure tangata whenua will come from all over to see these precious artefacts of their ancestors.”

The artefacts will be removed from display and safely transported north to Te Uri o Hau at Waihaua Marae on October 12 be welcomed home and blessed.

The objects will then be transferred to The Kauri Museum where they will be on display for the remainder of the day while an exhibition will be mounted of the Rintoul Collection for the summer.

Research will also begin, which will ultimately determine longer-term display outcomes and material not on display will be accessible in a new research centre.