Mangatu taonga returned home

Taken from the Mangatu people over a century ago.

Taken from the Mangatu people over a century ago.

The Mangatu people with rare taonga that were stolen from ancient burial caves over 100 years ago. Pictures supplied by Marcus Lloyd
Marcus Lloyd of Nga Ariki Kaiputahi is happy to have taonga that belonged to his ancestors return home to Mangatu before being permanently housed at Tairawhiti Museum.
Mangatu taonga.
The Mangatu people welcomed home their rare taonga that were stolen from ancient burial caves over 100 years ago. Among the returned items was (above) a metre-long carved pare (a decorative carving above a meeting house door), tara kaniwha (barbed spear points for bird hunting), toki (adze for cutting trees and carving) and patu (fighting clubs).
Mangatu Taonga.

Ancient taonga that had been taken from the Mangatu people over a century ago, made a historical return home at the weekend.

The significant treasures were returned to Mangatu Marae from the Auckland War Memorial Museum for a special homecoming pohiri, before being permanently housed in Tairawhiti Museum.

The collection of taonga includes a metre-long carved pare (a decorative carving above a meeting house door), a case of toki (adze for cutting trees and carving), patu (fighting club) and tara kaniwha (barbed spear points for bird hunting).

They had been taken from Maori burial caves in Mangatu last century by two men known as the Campbell brothers and were then gifted to the Auckland museum in 1929.

During their time in Auckland, the taonga were part of the Campbell Collection.

Two staff from the Auckland War Memorial Museum and members of the Campbell family accompanied the taonga on their return.

Momentous occasion for the Mangatu people

Kaumatua Owen Lloyd said it was a momentous occasion for the people of Mangatu, the iwi of Nga Ariki Kaiputahi.

“It was a big day for us, to see and to touch these taonga that were handled and crafted by our old people.

“These taonga will be important keystones in our development in our arts and in our stories, for the future.”

The return came about as a result of research that Mr Lloyd and his whanau were doing for their Treaty of Waitangi claim.

“We found in our research that there were a number of taonga from Mangatu held in various places.

“I started to make some inquiries and we met up with the Campbell whanau.

“Since then, there have been negotiations between Tairawhiti Museum and Auckland War Memorial Museum to have these taonga come home permanently.

“After the pohiri, one of the Campbell whanau gave a heartfelt apology for her ancestor taking these taonga from our burial caves.

“Returning them to us was part of her repatriation. It was really a nice gesture.”

Significant link between the past, present and future

Mr Lloyd’s son Marcus said the return of the taonga was a significant link between the past, present and future.

“Ancient treasures of my ancestors were returned to the people after having been stolen by European settlers from a sacred cave over 100 years ago.

“Tears flowed as epochs merged and the portals to our past were thrown open.

“Moments like these are history in the making.

“These sacred treasures lay undisturbed in a burial cave for ages and are direct links to our ancestors and the traditions of our past.

“Such things being taken from us are due to colonisation.

“In this instance it was the descendant of the person who stole the taonga who felt compelled to make right the misdeed of her ancestor.

“In doing so she has restored some manner of respect to her family.

“Now, all our old ways and treasures are returning. So is the knowledge of the ancestors and surely the mana.

“I’m a happy man right now.”

Tairawhiti Museum director Eloise Wallace said a highlight of the repatriation was seeing museums, families and iwi working together for the cause.

“The Mangatu whanau, Campbell family, Tairawhiti Museum and Auckland Museum all worked together to bring about the return of the taonga.

“The taonga will now be cared for at Tairawhiti Museum and everyone is now working together on an exhibition so that we can share the stories of these unique taonga, and their journey with a broader audience.”

See also: http://gisborneherald.co.nz/opinion/3298766-135/may-relationships-last-forever

and http://gisborneherald.co.nz/localnews/3330262-135/taonga-return-a-century-in-the

Ancient taonga that had been taken from the Mangatu people over a century ago, made a historical return home at the weekend.

The significant treasures were returned to Mangatu Marae from the Auckland War Memorial Museum for a special homecoming pohiri, before being permanently housed in Tairawhiti Museum.

The collection of taonga includes a metre-long carved pare (a decorative carving above a meeting house door), a case of toki (adze for cutting trees and carving), patu (fighting club) and tara kaniwha (barbed spear points for bird hunting).

They had been taken from Maori burial caves in Mangatu last century by two men known as the Campbell brothers and were then gifted to the Auckland museum in 1929.

During their time in Auckland, the taonga were part of the Campbell Collection.

Two staff from the Auckland War Memorial Museum and members of the Campbell family accompanied the taonga on their return.

Momentous occasion for the Mangatu people

Kaumatua Owen Lloyd said it was a momentous occasion for the people of Mangatu, the iwi of Nga Ariki Kaiputahi.

“It was a big day for us, to see and to touch these taonga that were handled and crafted by our old people.

“These taonga will be important keystones in our development in our arts and in our stories, for the future.”

The return came about as a result of research that Mr Lloyd and his whanau were doing for their Treaty of Waitangi claim.

“We found in our research that there were a number of taonga from Mangatu held in various places.

“I started to make some inquiries and we met up with the Campbell whanau.

“Since then, there have been negotiations between Tairawhiti Museum and Auckland War Memorial Museum to have these taonga come home permanently.

“After the pohiri, one of the Campbell whanau gave a heartfelt apology for her ancestor taking these taonga from our burial caves.

“Returning them to us was part of her repatriation. It was really a nice gesture.”

Significant link between the past, present and future

Mr Lloyd’s son Marcus said the return of the taonga was a significant link between the past, present and future.

“Ancient treasures of my ancestors were returned to the people after having been stolen by European settlers from a sacred cave over 100 years ago.

“Tears flowed as epochs merged and the portals to our past were thrown open.

“Moments like these are history in the making.

“These sacred treasures lay undisturbed in a burial cave for ages and are direct links to our ancestors and the traditions of our past.

“Such things being taken from us are due to colonisation.

“In this instance it was the descendant of the person who stole the taonga who felt compelled to make right the misdeed of her ancestor.

“In doing so she has restored some manner of respect to her family.

“Now, all our old ways and treasures are returning. So is the knowledge of the ancestors and surely the mana.

“I’m a happy man right now.”

Tairawhiti Museum director Eloise Wallace said a highlight of the repatriation was seeing museums, families and iwi working together for the cause.

“The Mangatu whanau, Campbell family, Tairawhiti Museum and Auckland Museum all worked together to bring about the return of the taonga.

“The taonga will now be cared for at Tairawhiti Museum and everyone is now working together on an exhibition so that we can share the stories of these unique taonga, and their journey with a broader audience.”

See also: http://gisborneherald.co.nz/opinion/3298766-135/may-relationships-last-forever

and http://gisborneherald.co.nz/localnews/3330262-135/taonga-return-a-century-in-the

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