Iwi Tawhito - whenua hou

Ancient Peoples - New Lands

The story of moa and the people who hunted them have been a major exhibition and research focus since the Museum doors first opened in 1870.

Iwi Tawhito - whenua hou allows visitor to encounters snapshots of the time ancestors of modern Maori first settled the new land after voyaging from their Central Eastern-Polynesian homeland more than 700 years ago. This is done through a clever combination of three life-size dioramas and displays of taonga Maori (Maori treasures).The dioramas bring to life hunters stalking the huge bird, while others fish the abundant sea and a family group explores the vast interior of the new land.

The gallery also includes the most extensive display in Aotearoa/New Zealand of the ancient treasures left by these ancestors (taonga) including adornment, tools, rock art and an outrigger canoe (waka ama). Their story continues in the adjacent exhibition Nga Taonga tuku iho o nga tupuna.