New Zealand - Te Papa Museum

Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand

Looking around Lambton Harbour, from Wellington Waterfront to the west, past the industrial area, to Remutaka Range across the harbour to the east.

One of the first sights upon entry is the Tauhunu vaka (call it a "canoe"), made around 1900 in the Cook Islands. It did not sail here; it's built for lakes, not oceans.

Just past Tauhunu is a DH82a de Havilland Tiger Moth, a war-surplus aircraft used for agricultural seeding.

Here's a more impressive canoe. This is a Ma̅ori war canoe named Teremoe. It was used for territorial skirmishes between Whanganui tribes in the 1860s; this canoe belong to the pro-tribal independence side, fighting the pro-(European immigrant) government side. The near side carving at the prow is called a tauihu, and was added after the canoe was donated to the museum. The stern post (taurapa) in the back is also a later addition.

While we're looking at Ma̅ori artifacts, here's a collection of weaponry (with a shield). The spiky one is my favorite.

This cannon was jettisoned from the HMS Endeavour (Captain James Cook's vessel) to keep the ship afloat when it struck the Great Barrier Reef in 1770, so that high tide would lift it back off the reef (which did work). It was raised in 1969.

While we're talking about Captain Cook, here's a Hawaiian feathered cloak, or `ahu`ula, and helmet, or mahiole. worn by High Chief Kalani`opu`u and given to Cpt. Cook to welcome him to Hawai`i. Hawai`i was also where Cook was murdered. Some welcome.

One step more massive than the giant squid, this is the only colossal squid on display anywhere. It has the largest eye of any animal.

You decide if I've saved the best for last. This is a whare whakairo, or a carved meeting house of significant religious significance to the Ma̅ori. It symbolizess the connection between darkness (outside) and light (inside), earth (the bare floor) and sky (interior posts/ridgepole). The "koruru" masks along the outside are representative of the tribe's ancestors and are also intended to intidimate and defy the tribe's enemies, while the abalone (paua) eyes are representative of those of owls (. This one is named Te Hau-ki-Tu̅ranga and was in use from 1840 until 1867 when it was confiscated by a white Christian minister and desecrated as a meeting place for white elitists. Fortunately, the carvings were kept intact so that it could be interred in the museum in the 1930s. Since I saw it on display, the museum has finally returned it to its rightful owners, the Rongowhakaata iwi (tribe).

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