‘A carved house standing inside a fortified pā is the mark of a chief’ – This proverbial response uttered by local Ngāti Maru chief, Taharākau encapsulates the essence of our taonga Māori collection housed and cared for here in our Museum for the future benefit of all and continues to connect people to their cultural heritage.
The foundation of our taonga Māori collection consist of the W.D. Lysnar Collection, part of the Black Collection, the H.C. Anderson Collection and others. The collection includes significant loans and acquisitions from whānau, hapū, iwi, community leaders, individuals and groups. Our taonga Māori collection continues to evolve and develop, contributing to the cultural renaissance and strengthening our regional history.
These taonga include
Explore the collection on our online database. We are continually updating and improving the online collection and regularly add new objects.
Visit our Donations page for more information.
The museum displays works from the taonga collection in semi-permanent and short term exhibitions.
This exhibition focuses on a significant collection of taonga Māori from Tairāwhiti, known as the Campbell Collection. This exhibition highlights the significance of these taonga from Mangatū, and marks an important milestone in the collections history – their return to this region, through the transferal of custodianship from Auckland War Memorial Museum to Tairāwhiti Museum,... Read more »
This text below has been adapted from the Director’s Note in the June – August 2018 edition of Tui Tui Tuituia! Tairāwhiti Museum’s quarterly newsletter, available on the museum website. I have recently returned from the Museums Aotearoa annual conference in Ōtautahi Christchurch. Tairāwhiti Museum received acknowledgements in the national museum awards for two projects –... Read more »
Watersheds | Ngā Wai Pupū is Tairāwhiti Museum’s semi-permanent exhibition which gives the visitor a snapshot of the history of the Gisborne/East Coast region. Our exhibition forms a river that flows through the history of Tairāwhiti. Beginning with Māori accounts of how the world began and where people came from, this river of history finishes in... Read more »
The Te Moana Maritime Gallery offers a glimpse into 1000 years of maritime myths, legends, stories and development of the Tairawhiti East Coast region. Also included in this gallery is the arrival of Captain James Cook, the development of Gisborne’s harbour, local shipwrecks, surfing in this region, the fishing industry and surf life saving.
Mauri Tangata Mauri Kōrero Mauri Whenua Te kotahi ā Tūrāhiri, ripo ana te moana. Descendants of Tūrāhiri, ancestress of the Rongowhakaata people, are progenitors of unique talents, innovation and craftsmanship; a quality that has rippled and propagated throughout the land and throughout Rongowhakaata history. These qualities continue to exist in the Rongowhakaata uri (descendants) today... Read more »
Tū te Whaihanga is a resurgence of the creative genius of the past, and carries the cultural aspirations of tangata whenua into the future. Sacred taonga that left the shores of Te Tairāwhiti 250 years ago will return home to be celebrated in the upcoming exhibition, Tū te Whaihanga. The homecoming will see these taonga stand... Read more »
*If you find a Taonga Tūturu (an object which relates to Māori history, culture or society and is more than 50 years old) please bring it to the museum so that we can notify the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Taonga Tūturu are one of 9 categories of protected objects defined in the Protected Objects Act.
For collection research, access and advice please contact the Museum Kaitieki Māori. Please note that staff are not always available immediately and it is advisable to make arrangements as far in advance as possible, particularly if you are only visiting Gisborne for a short period.
Researchers who are unable to visit in person can make their enquiry by email, letter or telephone
Research and advice
New taonga Māori acquisitions
Taonga Tūturu (protected New Zealand objects)
Tribal and community connections to taonga
Tikanga (cultural advice) around taonga and within the Museum context
We welcome ideas for new projects and exhibitions so if you have something in mind, please get in touch – we would love to hear from you!