Te Puia Kupe Sites Exhibition
Landmarks of a great voyager.
Kupe Sites, an exhibition – developed and toured by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa) – opens in Te Puia’s Ngā Waru Pū Manawa Gallery on Thursday 9 April, 2009. It is the first time that this historically and culturally significant exhibition has been shown outside of the traditional museum setting, which recognises the role of Te Puia in preserving and showcasing the nation’s cultural heritage.
Kupe Sites celebrates a great Polynesian voyager’s connections with New Zealand. Kupe is regarded by many iwi (tribes) as one of the ancestors who discovered this country.Kupe Sites explores the stories of Kupe’s encounter with New Zealand through names of various landmarks and places including the name ‘Aotearoa’.
Some iwi tell the story of Kupe setting out from his homeland Hawaiki in pursuit of Te Wheke-a-Muturangi, a giant octopus. Others recount how Kupe, in love with his nephew’s wife, took her husband fishing, left him out at sea to drown, then fled from the family’s vengeance.
Whether he was the pursuer or the pursued, Kupe and his stories are of immense importance to the many iwi who trace their whakapapa (genealogy) back through him. While the stories vary, they all celebrate a remarkable voyager who settled a new land and charted a route through the Pacific for later navigators to follow.
Kupe Sites presents these stories through photographs of places and video recordings of kuia and kaumātua from four areas that have strong traditions of links to Kupe – Northland, Wairarapa, the Wellington region, and the top of the South Island.
Kupe Sites offers visitors a unique encounter with New Zealand’s past and reveals the significance of landscape and memory in portraying a key figure in the country’s history.
To complement Kupe Sites, Te Puia has developed another section that looks at the arrival of Te Arawa waka and the subsequent journey of Ngatoroirangi, the tohunga or spiritual expert aboard the waka. The tradition of Ngatoroirangi maps the geothermal system between Whakaari (White Island and the mountains of the central plateau, particularly Mount Tongariro.
The last section of the gallery is a memorial space or wahi maumahara. This space will comprise images of the Valley’s world famous guides amongst others, celebrating Te Puia’s living legacy and relationship to the land. Te Puia Chief Executive Te Taru White said, ‘the redevelopment of this Gallery is a unique opportunity for Te Puia to partner with another National institution while acknowledging the rich history of this region and the significance of the people of the Whakarewarewa Valley’.
Summer: 8am – 6pm (last tour commences at 5pm)
0800 TE PUIA