Auckland Museum inviting Māori to share experience of living through Covid-19 pandemic

By Regan Paranihi

Tāmaki Paenga Hira curators are designing an exhibition to tell the visual story of how Covid-19 has impacted the nation. Curator Māori, Chanel Clarke, says the Māori point of view is often missed in these situations. She says this is a significant moment that we have all been through and it is an opportunity for future generations to experience what life was like for Māori living through this pandemic.

This pandemic will now be a part of New Zealand's history.

"History is happening every day, what happened yesterday is history today," says Chanel Clarke, Curator Māori at Auckland Museum.

The museum is on the hunt for 100 exhibition pieces to tell this story and Clarke is calling on Māori to be the ones to tell their own stories.

"Often the museums are collecting us as Māori and people are thinking this is the Māori experience, but this is our chance to participate and actively put in what is our experience as Māori living through this pandemic."

She also says it is about gathering the most organic pieces to depict today's living situation under Covid-19 restrictions.

"This isn't anything new for us as Māori we've been through pandemics in the past (and) other trauma."

"Care packages that have been sent out to our kaumātua, that's something that happened during the war and that's something we've represented here in the museum."

The Māori led-initiatives have also shown a major impact on getting the country and their community through these unprecedented times and this is an experience Clarke wants to showcase.

"The checkpoints have definitely been something that has happened really swiftly with our communities. Again it's that for us. it's almost history repeating itself, it's something we've been through before and often our Māori communities have operated much more quickly than the government," Clarke says.

The submission process remains open for another week then museum curators will work closely to design the exhibition.