He Tirohanga Ki Muri: A View of the Past


"E kore e ngaro; te kakano i ruia mai i Ra' iatea.
I shall never be lost; the seed that was sown from Ra' iatea."

The image of a waka en passage across the sea is a metaphor for an individuals' life journey through time. As the waka traverses the ocean the wake generated by the canoe in motion symbolizes the pursuit of knowledge. Sea spray thrown up by the prow of the canoe soars above. Illuminated by the suns rays, a rainbow appears, the individual is ready, knowledge becomes wisdom and life's journey is rewarded.

'He tirohanga ki muri ~ A view of the past' is an attempt to capture and convey a selection of Maori heritage materials from the Hocken Library, which not only speak of important events and relationships, but also acknowledge the mana, (prestige, dignity and authority) of our ancestors through the words and wisdom they have left behind. They provide us with glimpses into our rich heritage and are a remarkable record of our ancestors' opinions, lives and feelings. It is hoped that by bringing together these taonga we add further depth and understanding to our journey in the pursuit of knowledge.


Various collectors

Collection Items

W. B. D. Mantell, Names of the hapu of the Kai Tahu tribe
In 1848 Walter Baldock Durrant Mantell was appointed to the office of commissioner for extinguishing native titles in the South Island. Mantell used this collection of cardboard labels to represent the inter-relationships of the hapu of the Otago…

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