Aboriginal and Maori Elders, community and staff came together to bless the exhibition and celebrate these majestic creatures.


Whales | Tohorā launch day
Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Nathan Moran and Maori Elder Kura Moeahu Image: Nick Langley
Australian Museum

The Whales | Tohora exhibition opening on Friday 19 October 2018 saw an extraordinary coming together of cultures.

The moving event began with a smoking ceremony guided by Wiradjuri Elder Uncle Jimmy Smith and Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council CEO Nathan Moran. Maori Elder Kura Moeahu then greeted dignitaries with the traditional hongi – the pressing of noses and foreheads – in which it is believed that the breath of life is exchanged. Guests moved into the exhibition and saw a performance by AM Pacific Collections officer Logan Metcalfe, and later a performance by Aboriginal dance group Koomurri.


Whales | Tohorā launch day
Aboriginal Elder Uncle Jimmy Smith performs smoking ceremony on Museum Walk Image: Nick Langley
Australian Museum

Whales | Tohorā launch day
AM Director & CEO Kim McKay and Maori Elder Kura Moeahu Image: Nick Langley
Australian Museum

Whales | Tohorā launch day
Maori Elder Alishia Mantell blessing the exhibition Image: Nick Langley
Australian Museum

Whales | Tohorā launch day
Maori Elders perform incantations in Whales | Tohora Image: Nick Langley
Australian Museum

Whales | Tohorā launch day
Australian Museum First Nations and Pacific Collections staff, dignitaries and Maori Elders Image: Nick Langley
Australian Museum