Pukaki’s placement at the entrance of the Rotorua Museum of Art & History’s new ‘Nga Pumanawa o Te Arawa’ exhibition next year will coincide with another significant gifting to our local iwi.
The treasured Te Arawa taonga was recently moved by Ngati Whakaue from the Rotorua District Council (RDC) Civic Centre Galleria to an interim off-site facility where he will undergo conservation treatment.
Pukaki Trust, RDC, and Ngati Whakaue decided to move Pukaki from the council headquarters because he was deteriorating in the building, and to permanently house him in the climate controlled Rotorua Museum once the current centennial extension project is complete in August 2011.
RDC director Kaupapa Maori Mauriora Kingi, who performed the official karakia when Pukaki was first brought to the council 10 years ago, says Pukaki’s relocation will also coincide with the return of 16 original Te Arawa taonga from Te Papa and Auckland museums.
“Important taonga dating back to before the great migration are being given back to Te Arawa, including the greenstone ‘toki’ that hulled the Te Arawa canoe.
“We’re expecting Pukaki, along with the other taonga, to travel to the museum at the same time to be part of the ‘Nga Pumanawa o Te Arawa’ exhibition.
“The museum will be a better place for Pukaki. Once conservators do their ‘extreme makeover’ on him off-site, he will be as good as new and will last longer in his new home in the museum.”
Mr Kingi says that while Pukaki has left a gap in the RDC Civic Centre, locals should focus on the towering Rangitihi pou - the forefather of Te Arawa people - located in the council’s Customer Centre.
“From Rangitihi’s eight children come all the tribes of Te Arawa. Their descendents are those living around the lakes’ area.”