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Te Papa is home to New Zealand’s rich national collections. Here are taonga (treasures) prized by many iwi (tribes), centuries of art from Europe and New Zealand, significant historical items, treasures from the Pacific, and many of the extraordinary animals and plants that make up our natural environment.
Almost 400 items from these collections are presented in Icons Ngā Taonga. From McCahon’s paintings to the Britten motorbike, from a waka taua to the engravings of Banks and Solander, from Phar Lap’s mighty skeleton to a rare embroidered sampler from 1853 - each treasured item has a story to tell. Together, they depict Aotearoa New Zealand and its people.
Full of newly discovered taonga and little-known stories, as well as familiar national icons, this is a diverse and thought-provoking collection that celebrates our unique identity. But it is also one that reflects the questioning, change, and conflict that have forged this identity over the centuries.
Within the pages of Icons Ngā Taonga, hundreds of evocative photographs bring Te Papa’s collections to life. Each item is accompanied by informative, readable descriptions. A brief essay introduces each section and provides valuable background information. Sections are written in Māori and English.
This book has something for every New Zealander and every visitor to New Zealand. Artistic, popular, intellectual, and enriching, Icons Ngā Taonga is a beautiful object, a valuable reference tool, a treasured memento of a unique national institution, and the perfect gift.
Above all, Icons Ngā Taonga tells the powerful story of New Zealand culture through our rare and wonderful national collections.