Blog

Waitangi Day 2013

By: Mr Logan Metcalfe, Category: Science, Date: 08 Feb 2013

What is Waitangi Day and how is the Museum involved in this year's celebrations?

Waitangi Day 2013 #2

 © Australian Museum

Waitangi Day is the annual celebration marking the treaty of Waitangi, which was signed on 6 February 1840 by representatives of the Crown and a confederation of northern chiefs in Waitangi, Bay of Islands, Aotearoa. The sometimes-contentious treaty is often cited as the foundation of New Zealand society.

Waitangi Day is celebrated with a national holiday in New Zealand and is commemorated by New Zealanders the world over.

Tomorrow I'll be heading to a celebration at Holroyd Gardens in Sydney along with my colleagues from Cultural Collections, Dion Peita and Keren Ruki. Thelma Thomas, our Pacific Youth Reconnection Project coordinator, will also be present.

We'll be taking with us a selection of taonga (treasures) dating from the late 1800s to put on display and discuss with the people we meet. These objects provide a glimpse into the Australian Museum’s Maori collections and insights into traditional Maori designs, materials and technologies.

The taonga remind us of the journey made by Maori ancestors to Australia. Every adventure begins with a first step, as symbolised by the toki pounamu (greenstone adze), to forge a new path.

The tiki and koropepe (neck ornaments) represent rich traditions and stories.

The Patu muka (flax beater) symbolises the strength and endurance of the Maori culture.

The Okewa (albatross club) represents the transfer of knowledge over time.

And the patu paraoa (whale bone club) accentuates the importance of Waitangi which we celebrate on this day.

We’re really looking forward to sharing our collections and knowledge in person. Will we see you there?