Taonga removed from Te Papa to be sold on

By Ripeka Timutimu

Peter Love has removed a precious taonga from Te Papa Tongarewa, and is preparing to sell it to another museum in Taranaki. The waka prow itself is valued at $400,000 and Peter Love, as the owner, says he has the final say on the prow's future, not the iwi.

It was his father, Wi Hapi Pakau Love, who began writing this genealogical tree in 1961 and Peter Love says that his father was then given ownership of the taonga as payment for that work.

Peter Love says that “for consideration of that my Grandfather gave him the waka prow”

This is the first known owner of the waka prow, Wi Hapi Pakau, and ownership has fallen into the hands of Peter and his brother, Michael.

“Te Papa asked me to renew the loan and I said now because I believe the waka prow should return to Taranaki where it came from, and where the tohunga Wi Hapi Pakau came from” says Peter.

The waka prow now sits in the auction house of Dunbar Sloane in Auckland, and this week was seen on auction lists, though it was removed at the last minute.

According to the chairman of the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, Neville Baker, this is an important treasure to Taranaki Whānui, and he's asked for cool heads and discussion about what is in the best interest of the hapū and iwi.