As part of the 2016 Waitangi Day celebrations, the new Museum of Waitangi has been blessed and given its Māori name, with Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae officially opening it. Northern Māori blessed the new Museum of Waitangi ahead of the official opening ceremony.
“The name formally given this morning is Te Kōngahu, a Ngapuhi word referring to the unborn child, a metaphor for the potential and promise of a new nation that was conceived and born here at Waitangi in the 19th Century, culminating of course in the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi 176 years ago,” says Waitangi National Trust, Chief Executive, Greg McManus.
The museum will be closed today, for the annual Waitangi Festival proceedings, before opening permanently on Sunday, 7 February.
Waitangi National Trust, Cultural Manager, Mori Rapana says: “The museum will remain closed to the public, so as not to detract from the mana of the Day. It’s fitting that the museum will open its doors permanently after Waitangi Day celebrations.”
Mr McManus adds, “The Waitangi Treaty Grounds is a special place for New Zealanders and everyone is excited to unveil the new museum. It’s been challenging at times but we’re proud of the work we’ve done and thrilled to finally share the museum with the nation.
“It’s our hope that every Kiwi will visit Waitangi and our new museum will be another reason to come to this very special part of New Zealand – the birthplace of our nation.”
Historian and consultant Dame Claudia Orange says, “The new museum is an important place to tell the stories of Waitangi – from the personal to the political. The exhibition spans the history of Waitangi from before the signing of the Treaty in 1840, right up to present day.
“These stories will come to life through the collection of taonga and display of more than 500 images – which have been shared through significant loans by Te Papa, Auckland War Museum, Whanganui Museum and private lenders. Ko Waitangi Tenei: This is Waitangi is a world class exhibition that is both immersive and interactive,” she says.
The inaugural and permanent exhibition is Ko Waitangi Tenei: This is Waitangi. The exhibition explores the stories of Waitangi – the people, the place and the Treaty. The exhibition also includes taonga from museums and private collections across the country, as well as content from around the world including Canada, USA, UK and Australia.
The museum will regularly host temporary exhibitions and opens with a collection of rarely seen photographs documenting protest action at Waitangi over the decades.
In addition to the new museum, the Waitangi Treaty Grounds will also offer a new all-inclusive Day Pass and during summer visitors can enjoy a twilight Hāngi & Concert, perfect for those wishing to have a full Waitangi experience.
The state of the art, architecturally designed museum and education centre is the cornerstone of the $14 million redevelopment programme at Waitangi Treaty Grounds, funded with help from the Lottery Grants Board’s Significant Project Fund, Lottery Environment and Heritage, Foundation North (formerly ASB Community Trust), the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and the Waitangi National Trust.