Waitangi Day and the Australian Museum

To celebrate this significant day, the AM is proud to share some of its 1000 Maori ethnographic objects 

Piu piu (waist garment)

Piu piu (waist garment)
Photographer: Stuart Humphreys © Australian Museum

These objects are known to Maori people as taonga Maori (Maori treasures).

The objects featured in the related gallery were used in everyday life at the time of the Waitangi Treaty. They provide insight into the designs, materials and technologies used in the production of Maori material culture during the 1800s. The materials used in the manufacture of objects as well as their use reflected the status of and respect for individuals such as warriors, priests, chiefs and chieftainesses within Maori tribal life.

The Australian Museum’s Waitangi Day display is part of an ongoing program to provide communities with access to their cultural material and provide an opportunity for our visitors to experience cultures from around the world. This year’s display includes musical instruments and other cultural objects from the Museum’s outreach/ teaching collection as well as a Maori flax weaving demonstration.

Maori weaving is a highly skilled art form that embodies the spiritual values and beliefs of Maori people. The main material used for weaving was, and still is, harakeke or flax (phormium tenax). Maori developed an array of weaving techniques to create beautiful and functional objects of everyday and ceremonial purposes some of which will be on display during our Waitangi Day celebrations.

Yvonne Carrillo-Huffman
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