Te reo, landmarks and taonga explored in new Auckland Museum gallery

By Jessica Tyson
Pou Herenga Manager at Auckland War Memorial Museum, Mereana Taungapeau, worked alongside iwi and Pasifika to develop the galleries. Source:Tapatahi

The second stage of Auckland War Memorial Museum's visitor transformation, Tāmaki Herenga Waka: Stories of Auckland, is open to the public.

Designed to share the diverse stories of the people and place that is Tāmaki Makaurau, this is the first permanent suite of galleries that explores the past, present and future of its people and the cultures.

Tāmaki Herenga Waka means ‘the gathering place of many waka’ and is an exhibition of Auckland places and people staged across four galleries. The stories of Auckland are shared through the museum's collections, with over 500 objects on display. They are enhanced with digital experiences.

A key feature of the gallery is Kei konei koe You are Here, an audio-visual experience that offers up an immersive introduction to Tāmaki. The feature is a 7m diameter, 360-degree ring, with eight projectors synced to project stories on to a topographical table and the 360-degree ring with surround sound, immersing visitors with images of Auckland over time.

Culturally diverse

Tāmaki Herenga Waka showcases selected taonga from the three iwi who hold mana whenua status for the museum’s site at Pukekawa including Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Paoa and Waikato-Tainui. The taonga include a kahukiwi (kiwi feather cloak) once worn by Kiingi Taawhiao, the second Māori King.

The galleries also explore significant landmarks to Māori including Mission Bay, Maungakiekie and Ihumātao.

Auckland War Memorial Museum chief executive Dr David Gaimster says, “Tāmaki Makaurau is not only New Zealand’s largest city but it is also our country’s most culturally diverse. People have come to Auckland from everywhere to form communities, and we are home to over 120 different ethnicities.”

Visitors are invited on a journey through time and space, encountering Auckland from different and surprising perspectives.

Lived experience

“Our research shows visitors want to see their own lived experience of Auckland and of being Aucklanders. This gallery will be a place for audiences to reflect on the past, present and future of Auckland and their place within this.”

The gallery has involved collaboration with many of the city’s communities, with over 60 objects lent to the exhibition to enable the sharing of Auckland’s stories.

“More importantly, this gallery reflects the heart of our city and its dynamic culture through the unique communities that have grown up within it,” Gaimster says.