lava. Taloha ni. Ni sa bula vinaka.
Fakaalofa lahi atu. Mālō e lelei. Kia orana.
Welcome to Pacific at Te
18, October 2012
• Working with the Pacific
• Papua New Guinea shields
Malaga: visiting artists from
• Sāmoa Treaty of
profile – Melania Siaosi
Home AKL exhibition
• Pacific History Association
Working with the Pacific Cultures
Therese Fatu and Jane Miller share their story about their time in
the Pacific Cultures Collection:
Papa volunteers Therese Fatu (left) and Jane Miller (right) at
work in the Pacific Cultures Collection, June 2012. Te
year and a half ago, an opportunity came up for Jane and me to gain
experience working with collections in Te Papa alongside Grace
Hutton, Collection Manager Pacific.
just completed an undergraduate degree in history and Classics, and
I was immersed in my final year of an honours degree in Classics.
Working with collections was an exciting opportunity for both of us.
with, we were not picky about the type of work given to us, and
would have taken anything Grace or her work colleagues had to give
us. This led to our involvement in the Māori and Pacific Textile
Symposium last year. Our tasks for the symposium included organising
registrations, invoicing attending participants, packaging goodie
bags, and every now and then making the odd coffee run. Every pair
of hands helped! It was a great experience and allowed us to meet
the amazing people that organised it all.
carried out a number of tasks within the Pacific Cultures Collection
– under the supervision of Grace and her colleagues – including
updating Te Papa’s object database by registering, cataloguing or
editing existing records. We learned about general object
handling and minor object conservation. We made moulds, tyvec
covers, boxes, and arranged plastic packaging for a range of
objects. Some were as small as a pair of shell earrings, some as
large as a vaka (canoe). We dealt with a range of objects – paddles,
bows and arrows, dolphin-toothed necklaces, ceremonial garments,
Pacific armour and weaponry … to name a few.
this experience, we both had very little knowledge of Pacific
objects or the protocol behind taking care of a museum collection.
By the end of our time, I had discovered a love for object
conservation and Jane most enjoyed learning about the history behind
each object. This project was unlike anything we had ever
experienced and we found it so fulfilling. We got on great with the
team and they were all so helpful, not only in assisting us but also
in helping us learn more about the treatment of the collection.
Read more about the Pacific Cultures
Papua New Guinea
Hutton, Collection Manager Pacific, tells of her recent find
relating to Papua New Guinea shields:
visit to the Pacific Cultures Collection, Fuli Pereira, Pacific
Curator from the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira,
mentioned that she had heard of old shields that still had spear
points embedded in them. Intrigued, I decided to try to find out if
we had any such shields in the Pacific Cultures Collection at Te
days later, I was searching through one of the museum registers and
noticed one which mentioned that a particular shield had ‘spear
points embedded’. With this fact in mind, I was determined to find
the shield, and so I started searching the Papua New Guinea shelves.
Most times it is easy to find an object in the many boxes, but
sometimes it can be difficult. On this day, I discovered two shields
with spear points embedded in them!
were used widely in Papua New Guinea and in parts of the Solomon
Islands in warfare and intergroup fighting. They are commonly made
from wood and generally rectangular in shape, but other forms and
different materials were also used. Below are some battle
shields from the Pacific Cultures Collection, that we have had
a closer look at in the last few weeks.
|Shield, date unknown, Papua New Guinea. Maker
unknown. Purchased 1911. Te Papa
This early twentieth century battle shield from New
Britain, Bismarck Archipelago, Papua New Guinea has three spear
points embedded in its top half. Considering its size, it is
This battle shield from Kiriwina (Trobriand
Islands), Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea has five spear points
embedded in it. Most are in the bottom half of the shield, and
one has pierced all the way through. The shield is painted
with a red and black pigments on a white background, and is
very faded. The patterns are highly anthropomorphic in
Detail of shield and spear point indentations,
Papua New Guinea. Oldman Collection. Gift of the New Zealand
Government, 1992. Te Papa
artists from Sāmoa
is Samoan for ‘a journey’. It also translates as the group who are
on the journey. Pacific peoples have always travelled throughout the
region for various reasons. This malaga was no
|Creative New Zealand staff and the delegation of
artists from Samoa, 2012, Te Papa|
2012 saw the celebration of 50 years of Samoan independence. As part
of the celebrations, Creative New Zealand gathered a group of
heritage artists from Samoa to tour Aotearoa. The tour took in
Auckland Museum, Mangere Arts Centre, and Te Papa. Here at Te Papa,
the tour was timely as it was included in the Matariki 2012
programme, the Kahu Ora exhibition’s Weavers’ Studio, and the
ongoing Tangata o le Moana exhibition.
malaga (touring party) was led by documentary maker Galumalemana
Steven Percival. It included a tufuga tatau (tattoo artist),
his assistant, a tanoa (kava bowl) carver, an ‘afa (sennit) maker,
and two ‘ie toga (fine mat) weavers.
The events programme ran over
two days, and drew interest from a diverse group of visitors, as
well as the local Samoan community. The demonstration of the
heritage arts followed traditional protocol, which allowed audiences
a deeper understanding of the
with Tainui kaumatua Take Turner, 2012.|
Running alongside the live demonstrations were
documentaries following the artists in Sāmoa. One documentary
showed the choosing of a tree that would eventually be carved into a
tanoa (kava bowl) and gifted to King Tuheitia Paki, via Tainui
kaumatua Taki and Ratau
|Samoan Tatatau Paul Sulu'ape (left) from
Samoa, 2012. |
highlight of the malaga was the chance to witness the art of Samoan
tatau (tattoo). Many visitors marvelled at this age-old practice,
and left in awe. An invitation was sent out to Te Papa staff, for
those wanting a tatau, and spaces were quickly snapped
event was also hugely successful because of the support of Te Papa
staff, who provided food, time, and spirit.
Sāmoa Treaty of Friendship events - from a loans
Loans Officer Catherine Halbleib tells of her involvement in helping
to process loan objects for the August celebration of 50 years of
Samoan independence and the Treaty of Friendship between New Zealand
and Samoa. Victoria University of Wellington hosted the
weeks ago we received a loan request that looked quite
straightforward, however, on closer inspection we realised it was
going to be a challenging request because of the tight timeframe.
Victoria University had requested to borrow some of the Samoan
objects in the Te Papa Pacific Cultures Collection.
|Part of the selected objects for the loan was
this To’i ma’a (hafted adze), Samoa. Gift of James
Fleck, Te Papa|
objects were selected for display during the Sāmoa Treaty of
Friendship events held on Monday 13 and Tuesday 14 August 2012.
Samoan Prime Minister Tuila’epa Sailele Malielegaoi, Samoan
government ministers, and academic staff from the National
University of Samoa were among those in attendance.
staff, including Pacific Cultures curators, a collection manager
Pacific, a conservation technician, and a loans officer, discussed
the request to see how it could best be accommodated. Further
discussions followed concerning the selection of the items, and
organising staff to be available to assist and deliver them in a
safe and timely manner.
few meetings, it was agreed that Te Papa would provide 13 Samoan
objects and a secure display case. This way we could guarantee a
safe environment for the objects as well as allowing the community
to reconnect with their treasures on such a special
lot of planning, organising, and hands-on work were needed to
process the loan, but it was definitely worth it and a great way to
support the community.
Visitors to the Pacific
last Pacific newsletter in May, we have had 129 visitors to the
Pacific Cultures Collection store. Many came from outside
Wellington, including nine music students from Mangere College in
Auckland, and members of the Tranzit Travel Club from Masterton and
Palmerston North. A delegation of Samoan parliamentarians visited in
|Visiting Samoa Parliamentarians with Te Papa
host Roger Rasmussen, 2012, Te
visitors included colleagues from the museum sector in Wellington,
whose visit was organised by Te Papa’s National Services Te
Paerangi. Students from the Landscape Architecture programme at
Victoria University Wellington, and members of the Whitby Probus
group. A small team from New Zealand Post viewed Samoan combs. A
group of social workers visited Te Papa and the Pacific
of Social Welfare workers with Te Papa Conservation
Technician Shane Pasene, 2012, |
During the celebration of Cook Islands Language Week
(6–10 August), four people toured the collection. This month, two
researchers from Cambridge University, England, visited to view
objects collected during Captain James Cook’s voyages to the Pacific
in the late 1700s.
Rod and Bev Ewins visited the Pacific Cultures Collection as part of
their research for a new book on the material culture of
|Visiting researcher Rod Ewins, 2012, Te
Rod is a
scholar and artist who has spent most of his life studying the arts
and material culture of the Pacific. Rod was born in Fiji into the
fourth generation of a family of settlers who arrived in 1875. His
book Fijian Artefacts (1982) has for 30 years been one of
two go-to books for curators and collectors of Fiji material
Over three half-day sessions with Rod and Bev, the
Pacific Cultures team viewed all the items in the Fiji collection.
We were able to update catalogue descriptions, and in some cases
identify objects. In this way, researchers help us build knowledge
around the collections and allow us to contribute in a small way to
research projects outside Te Papa. Rod and Bev’s research adds to
the efforts of others who have worked on Te Papa’s Fiji collection
in recent years. To read more about their visit please visit the Te
|| Read more about Rod
and Bev's visit
PlaNet Pasifika Host
I am 23 years old and
Samoan-born. My parents decided to make the big move to New
Zealand in 1995 when I was seven. After finishing college in
2006, I completed a carpentry certificate, before finally
realising it was not my passion.
In my last job, I
was a teacher aide, where I learnt about the lives of young
disabled children. A passion of mine is to work with children
who have disabilities and to help create art for the world to
recently moved back to Wellington after living for two years in
Auckland. It has been 11 months since taking on the role as PlaNet
Pasifika Host at Te Papa Tongarewa. This is a museum with
opportunities that challenge you to gain more, learn more, and do
more. The highlight of my role is that I get to create art, and be
part of education programmes that offer disabled children the same
opportunities enjoyed by other children.
as a Te Papa Host is to interact with and provide customer service
to visitors who come to the Discovery Centres to learn, browse, or
who are interested in some way. Te Papa has the best Discovery
Centre team you could ask for. I am very happy to work with a group
of talented people who help you rise to the top.
Home AKL - Te Papa staff
7 July – 22 October
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o
Art Gallery is worthy of a visit whenever you find yourself in
downtown Auckland. Lying out the front of the gallery on a
bed of water, Aotea (Long White Cloud) by Sopolemalama Filipe
Tohi suggests the beginning of a new journey. From the moment you
set eyes on the open facade, your senses awake and there is no
with the truth, passion, and respect it deserves by Pacific
statesman Maualaivao Albert Wendt, Home AKL flourished in the
opening night stir. To the sound of a Tongan string band (ukulele,
guitar, and violin), food was shared, reunions triggered, new
dynamics forged, and the laughter … it was well
Home AKL features a range of media, including
photography, sculpture, painting, and adornment. The opening offered
free entry for the day, which saw hundreds pass through the gallery.
There were two workshops and two performances, as well as two
floortalks from Home AKL artists Leilani Kake and Angela
of the workshops, Home AKL artist Janet Lilo had everyone
building their home out of cardboard. At the end of the day, there
was a cardboard city covering the mezzanine floor. Someone had even
made a Sky Tower.
Prestige performing at the Home AKL events, 2012, Te
performances were hugely popular. There was hip-hop from local group
Prestige, and high-energy dance from Tatau Dance Group – a group of
Samoan male dancers who each bear the Samoan pe’a.
|| Check out the facebook page for Home AKL, and
make the journey.
last few months the Pacific Cultures team have been blogging about
various collection items and acquisitions. Some of the most recent
blogs were linked to Cook Islands Language Week, 6–8 August 2012 – a
celebration of the Cook Islands language and Tongan Language Week,
1-8 September 2012.
the links below to read the blogs:
Generations: Histories with a
Papa staff are on the organising committee for
the 20th Pacific History Association (PHA)
conference which is being held at Victoria University of
Wellington from 6 to 8 December 2012. The PHA serves the
interests of specialists in Pacific history, Pacific studies,
political studies, anthropology, and archaeology. The biennial
conference is an international event drawing together
researchers from the Pacific islands, New Zealand, Australia,
Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Convened by Dr Adrian Muckle and Dr
Teresia Teaiwa, the 2012 conference will include presentations by
more than 150 speakers across 54 sessions. Keynote addresses will be
provided by Aroha Harris, University of Auckland; Chris Ballard,
Australian National University; and Vince Diaz, University of
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
details of the provisional programme will be available by
mid-September on the PHA’s website at http://pacifichistoryassociation.org/. Early-bird
registration is now open on
the website, with late fees applying from 16 October. There is no
late fee for single-day registrations.