There are over 6,000 taonga tuku iho in the Taonga Māori Collection. These taonga have been carved, woven, plaited, hewn, lashed and flaked, and were handed down through generations together with their rich stories.
The collection developed in different ways, starting with the many taonga from early Pākehā collectors like Sir Douglas and Lady Florence Maclean. Later taonga came from local Māori whānau. Staff care for taonga Māori in the collection but we are also kaitiaki for the stories they tell about the history of Māori settlement in Hawke’s Bay. In this way, the Taonga Māori Collection retains the relationship between taonga and people.
There are ancestral carvings, personal items such as jewellery and clothing, symbols of leadership and spiritual practice collected over the last century, each carrying their stories and those of the people that made and used them.
Textiles form a significant part of the Taonga Māori Collection, with over a hundred cloaks, and many beautiful woven and decorated kete.
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