Terracotta Warriors arrival ‘momentous’ for Te Papa

TERRACOTTA ARMY: Eight life-sized ancient Chinese warriors are on display at Te Papa Tongarewa Museum as part of its latest exhibition Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality. Picture by Jack Fisher
Rongowhakaata leader Taharakau Stewart and whanau were part of the exhibition powhiri held in front of Te Hau ki Turanga — the Rongowhakaata carved meeting house that is located in Te Papa. Picture by Jack Fisher
WARRIOR WELCOME: Gisborne man Dayne Hollis performs the wero at the powhiri, which welcomed a delegation from Xi’an, China led by Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon. Picture by Jo Moore/Te Papa

Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon and Rongowhakaata iwi were part of the official welcoming of ancient Chinese terracotta warriors to Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Wellington on Thursday.

Eight of the 2300-year-old imperial icons have travelled more than 10,000 kilometres from China’s ancient capital, Xi’an, as part of the exhibition Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality.

The life-sized warriors are ancient treasures from the buried army that guarded the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. They are accompanied by a collection of about 160 treasures from imperial tombs in and around Xi’an.

Built in 210 BC, the life-sized warriors and a group of delegates from Xi’an were welcomed by local iwi of the Wellington area — Ngati Toa Rangatira and Te ĀAtiawa, and Te Papa iwi in residence Rongowhakaata.

Mayor Meng Foon was part of the manuhiri (visitors) delegation and was a kaikorero (speaker) during the powhiri (welcome).

A karakia (prayer) and powhiri was held in front of the Rongowhakaata meeting house, which sits in Te Papa. Te Hau ki Turanga whare whakairo is the world’s oldest surviving carved meeting house.

“This was a very momentous occasion, a wonderful embrace of cultures and the culmination of a strong relationship between the National Museum (Te Papa Tongarewa) and the cultural institutions from the province of Shaanxi,” said Te Papa Kaihautu (Maori co-leader) Arapata Hakiwai.

Te Papa’s board chairman Evan Williams said it was a huge honour to be entrusted with these treasures.

“We embrace the responsibility of being their kaitiaki (guardians) and this opportunity to share China’s ancient history with New Zealanders.”

Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality runs to April 22.

Gisborne Mayor Meng Foon and Rongowhakaata iwi were part of the official welcoming of ancient Chinese terracotta warriors to Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Wellington on Thursday.

Eight of the 2300-year-old imperial icons have travelled more than 10,000 kilometres from China’s ancient capital, Xi’an, as part of the exhibition Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality.

The life-sized warriors are ancient treasures from the buried army that guarded the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang. They are accompanied by a collection of about 160 treasures from imperial tombs in and around Xi’an.

Built in 210 BC, the life-sized warriors and a group of delegates from Xi’an were welcomed by local iwi of the Wellington area — Ngati Toa Rangatira and Te ĀAtiawa, and Te Papa iwi in residence Rongowhakaata.

Mayor Meng Foon was part of the manuhiri (visitors) delegation and was a kaikorero (speaker) during the powhiri (welcome).

A karakia (prayer) and powhiri was held in front of the Rongowhakaata meeting house, which sits in Te Papa. Te Hau ki Turanga whare whakairo is the world’s oldest surviving carved meeting house.

“This was a very momentous occasion, a wonderful embrace of cultures and the culmination of a strong relationship between the National Museum (Te Papa Tongarewa) and the cultural institutions from the province of Shaanxi,” said Te Papa Kaihautu (Maori co-leader) Arapata Hakiwai.

Te Papa’s board chairman Evan Williams said it was a huge honour to be entrusted with these treasures.

“We embrace the responsibility of being their kaitiaki (guardians) and this opportunity to share China’s ancient history with New Zealanders.”

Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality runs to April 22.

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