Wednesday, 21 June 2017


Matariki is a time to come together as a whänau (family), to reflect on the roles we play, and to plan for the coming year. This year at Te Papa we are focusing on kaitiakitanga (guardianship), and are looking to recognise the kaitiaki (guardians) all around us. The Matariki star cluster is a kaitiaki of the year to come. Tohunga (experts) are able to read the signs during the constellation’s first rising, allowing people to properly prepare for the new year. 

Many iwi around the country also consider that some animals, such as the kähu (hawk), the whai (stingray), the mokomoko (lizard), or the taniwha (sea monster), will protect and care for them. For the tangata whenua (local people) of the Wellington region, Ngäti Toa, the rürü (native owl) is a kaitiaki. The different calls of the rürüū announce significant changes occurring within the iwi, such as a birth or a death. 

The kaitiaki we might be most familiar with, however, are people and institutions in our own communities. For instance, our teachers in our centres and schools nurture our ideas and look out for our well-being. Curators and Collection Managers at Te Papa collect and look after the taonga (treasures) of Aotearoa New Zealand. We believe that everyone is a kaitiaki in some way! 

What actions will you take this coming year?

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