Kura visit for a great day

Ngā Taonga and a number of fellow heritage organisations were pleased recently to host a visit from an Ōtaki kura kaupapa. More than 90 tamariki, rangatahi, teachers and helpers from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rito spent the day at the National Library building to discover the varied resources it holds. These include Ngā Taonga, the Alexander Turnbull Library, the He Tohu exhibition of significant New Zealand documents and He Matapihi, a pop-up Wellington City library.

Tamariki from Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rito at the National Library
Tamariki from Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rito at the National Library. Photo by Troy Coutts.

For the secondary school age rangatahi, Ngā Taonga screened Ngā Wai e Rua. This compilation programme was put together for last year’s Tuia250 commemorations and explored interactions between Māori and non-Māori captured with moving image recordings. The screening was introduced by Kahu Kutia, our Client Access Liaison Māori Specialist – Takawaenga ā-Iwi Reo Motuhake:

“Kei roto i tēnei whare ko He Whakaputanga, ko Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Ko rāua ngā pepa e whakakotahi ana i a tangata whenua me tangata tiriti. Ko te tūmanako, mā te mātakitaki i tēnei whakaaturanga, ka mārama ai koutou ko wai tātou, ā, me pēhea tātou e whai i te ara o āpōpō.”

“He Whakaputanga and Te Tiriti are housed in this building. These are the documents that bind together two peoples. I hope that by watching the screening, you will learn more about who we are and the path we should take in to the future.”

The programme caused murmurs of excitement and recognition in the crowd. It also showed the group films and footage they’d not seen before.

Student Hikitia Ropata thought the whole day had been great. “It was cool, really educational,” she said. Ropata was surprised to learn of the large amount of material held by both Ngā Taonga and the National Library. Watching the Ngā Wai e Rua screening, a big highlight was “the first recording of te reo on film from 1930, it was amazing.” That film, Nature’s Fireless Cooker, shows a kaumatua catching kōura in Rotorua and cooking them in a thermal pool.

The tumuaki, Principal Janey Wilson was equally pleased with the visit: “The kaimahi were so well organised – we’ve been taken care of really well.” She appreciated that the activities connected with the diverse age range of tamariki. “We’ve been studying Te Tiriti o Waitangi so this has been great,” she said. “We’ll definitely bring the kura back in the future.”

A presentation from Kahu Kutia
A presentation from Kahu Kutia, the Client Access Liaison Māori Specialist – Takawaenga ā-Iwi Reo Motuhake

In addition to the Ngā Wai e Rua programme, students also explored our Rust + Restoration – He Waikura He Whakauka exhibition. This demonstrated film preservation work and included footage from the 1931 earthquake in Te Matau-a-Māui (Hawke’s Bay). The tamariki enjoyed seeing the rusty cans in which the film arrived and old projectors and camera equipment.

Other groups of students spent time visiting He Tohu, which holds Te Tiriti o Waitangi, He Whakaputanga (the Declaration of Independence) and the Women’s Suffrage Petition. This permanent and award-winning exhibition provides a unique chance to see the historic documents that helped shape the country.

He Matapihi is a pop-up Wellington City library, created following the close of the Central branch due to earthquake risks. Younger tamariki enjoyed the librarians reading stories. Other groups also worked at the craft table in the National Library.

Finally, older students discovered the material held in the Alexander Turnbull Library Māori Collections. This holds published items relating to Māori and contains te reo Māori and bilingual publications. The collection focuses on iwi, whakapapa and land information resources.

By working together closely, different heritage sector organisations were able to create an engaging and enriching educational experience.

Ngā Taonga newsletter

Sign up for our regular newsletter about projects we're working on and fascinating items from our collections.