Ngā Taonga tuku iho o nga tupuna

Treasures Left to Us by the Ancestors

Within a few centuries of their discovery and settlement of Aotearoa the East Polynesian settlers, the direct ancestors of Maori, saw many changes to their environment and their way of life.

The new land and the ancient people were both changing. Perhaps the most dramatic change was the extinction of many ground-dwelling species of bird, including moa. Lifestyles also changed as agriculture and fishing became more important within their economy. Changes in art styles, houses, tools and clothing were also happening, the distinctive Maori culture was emerging in the new land.

Incorporating a large diorama featuring a reconstruction of a Maori village scene, open displays of whakairo (carvings) and numerous cases of taonga (treasures), Ngā Taonga tuku iho o nga tupuna traces these changes from approximately 1500 AD until the arrival of Europeans around 1800 AD. The rich displays include exhibits of pounamu (jade) adornments / jewellery, musical instruments, weapons, clothing, large architectural carvings and implements used in the garden, and for harvesting food from the forest and sea

Also included in the gallery are displays of taonga (treasures) and images of the Tchakat Moriori the indigenous people of Rekohu/Chatham Islands situated about 900 km east of Aotearoa. Tchakat Moriori also voyaged from East Polynesia before settling in their remote and demanding island homeland.