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History exhibition to target youth audience

leech jar 7 September

Hopefully many of you have taken the opportunity to come in and view Turuturu: Fingers, Feathers and Fibre. This vibrant exhibition showcases textile items from the taonga Māori collection. Many people have commented on the striking design of this display – which draws on a combination of two elements. The harakeke plant or flax bush and the woven structure of a kete. Our designer has created the sense of a woven item, with convex and concave alternating panels creating the structure on which objects are displayed. The use of colour references the harakeke leaves, stalk and flower. Kairaranga weavers are considered knowledge holders and this exhibition gives a glimpse of the talent and knowledge used to create these stunning taonga.

Having completed the installation of Turuturu: Fingers, Feathers and Fibre, our team are now turning their attention to our next exhibition. This week the team have been de-installing Project Banaba to make way for Mystery of History. This exhibition is aimed at our younger audience and is bringing out all sorts of beautiful, ugly, special and interesting objects from the collection. Covering a wide variety of topics this exhibition allows us to put on display objects which may not have been seen for some time and to, once again, highlight the richness of the collection which we hold and care for on your behalf.

There are whistling jars from the Chimú culture of Peru, Egyptian artifacts, a Samurai suit of armour, along with Greek, Roman and Byzantine coins. A whole raft of legendary creatures are included; dragons, mermaids, phoenix, sphinx, taniwha and unicorns. There are magician’s wands, boxes, card tricks and more – you may even get to see some tricks in action.

Historic medical practices and equipment are also included with bone saws, a ‘guillotine’ to remove tonsils, and the once common practice of bloodletting – there’s even a jar for the leeches used to suck someone’s blood. We look at some New Zealand shipwrecks including the Northumberland and Montmorency, which both sank right here in Hawke’s Bay

Dragons and taniwha, shipwrecks and mermaids, medical guillotines and leeches – the whole point of this exhibition is to engage the imagination and interest of the younger ones and we believe this exhibition will do exactly that. Opening to the public on 28 September we hope to see many of you bringing in your children and mokopuna to visit Mystery of History.

Next week is Māori Language Week Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori and we’re providing a couple of free introductory te reo Māori lessons – see “what’s on” or our website for more details. We will also, for the first time, produce this weekly column entirely in te reo next week, with a translation available on our website. We hope you’ll enter into the spirit of things and try to add a bit more te reo Māori into your everyday life.


  • New Zealand International Film Festival (NZIFF) on now until 15 September, MTG Century Theatre. Tickets available through Ticketek and at MTG.
  • Behind the scenes tour - The written word: celebrating Māori Language Week, Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori 2019. Tuesday 10 September 12-1pm. SOLD OUT.
  • Matthew Barley & Stephen De Pledge. Beautiful chamber music - cello and piano. MTG Century Theatre, Tuesday 10 September, 7.30pm. Tickets available through Ticketek.
  • Exhibition tour –Tēnei Tonu and Turuturu followed by an introductory te reo Māori lesson to celebrate Māori Language Week, Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori. Tuesday 10 & Thursday 12 September, 4:30-6pm. Free event, koha appreciated. Register through Eventfinda.
  • Public Art Walking Tour. Wednesday 11 September 12-1pm, meet in MTG foyer. Free event, koha appreciated.
  • Exhibition tour – Tēnei Tonu. Thursday 12 September 12-1pm. Free event, koha appreciated.
  • Meet the Author – Tessa Duder. Meet renowned author Tessa Duder and hear her story of how James Cook chartered the first map of Aotearoa New Zealand. MTG Century Theatre, Wednesday 18 September 5.30pm. Free event, koha appreciated.

 Image: Leech jar, c1850, gifted by Mr P.J.E. Leigh

15 September 2019

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