About the exhibition

In Tākiri, An Unfurling, seven contemporary artists explore early Māori and European encounters through new work inspired by museum taonga. Through soundscape, photography, illustration, cloth making, weaving and sculpture, each artist explores and confronts the ongoing impact of these historic events.

The exhibition runs from 12 October 2019 - 7 June 2020 at the Edmiston Gallery, Hui Te Ananui A Tangaroa New Zealand Maritime Museum. 

Tākiri, An Unfurling is part of the nationwide Tuia 250 commemoration and is supported by funding from the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board Te Puna Tahua,Chisholm Whitney Charitable Trust and Pub Charity.

  • Reweti Arapere (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
  • Chris Charteris (iKiribati, Fijian, English)
  • Kohai Grace (Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Ngāti Porou, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Raukawa)
  • Nikau Gabrielle Hindin (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi)
  • Jasmine Togo-Brisby (Australian South Sea Islander)
  • Rongomaiaia Te Whaiti (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Ngāi Hinewaka, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kuri, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, Ngāti Waewae) 
  • 7558 Collective

Tuia – Encounters 250 was a commemoration in 2019 marking 250 years since the first encounters between Māori and Pākehā in 1769. Tuia 250 celebrated Aotearoa New Zealand’s Pacific voyaging heritage and was a national opportunity to hold honest conversations about the past, the present and how we navigate our shared future.


The whenua perspective: plants in flower

All the plants embossed by the artist, including the karaka berries, were in flower in January 1770 when Ngāti Hinewaka representatives boarded the HMS ENDEAVOUR at Cape Palliser. The artist imagines her hapū rigorously preparing to catch the HMS ENDEAVOUR, coming aboard with the offerings of kai in exchange for the whao that the hapū heard about through communication channels.

Pākehā accounts usually describe the kaihoe (paddlers) as single-mindedly demanding whao from sailors. For the artist, this is inconceivable given Ngāti Hinewaka’s reputation and customs.


Why do you think the artist chose to use the form of a ship's nail instead of the traditional whao?

Te tauhoko i te kai mō te nēra – Trading food for nails

Practice grounded in belonging

Ngāti Hinewaka's entrepreneurial first trade with the crew of the HMS Endeavour.

Ngāti Hinewaka: Technologically advanced and outward-looking

The hapū heard of the HMS ENDEAVOUR through a far-reaching, efficient network of communication. Once they had this knowledge, the hapū actively sought to make contact and engage with Cook’s ship. By presenting a Ngāti Hinewaka perspective, the artist makes the story about the hapū responding to the ENDEAVOUR, instead of it being about the ENDEAVOUR responding to the hapū.

The encounter was one of the few instances where Cook reflected deeply on the significance of what he witnessed. He would write of his amazement at the communication networks that had to exist for the Ngāti Hinewaka to know of whao.


Harvest: Cultivation during colonisation

We dig deep into the traditional Māori knowledge demonstrated in food cultivation and harvesting before the arrival of Europeans in Aotearoa.

Listen now



Rongomaiaia Te Whaiti

Rongomaiaia holds a Masters in Māori visual Arts from Toihoho ki Āpiti where she also lectures in Māori Art. Her art practice ranges from painting to installation as her work responds to hapū and iwi specific narratives about people and place.


  • FEASTA!: Pāraerae, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2018. Read more

  • Wairarapa artist wins Maori Art award, Te Waka Toi Awards, 2012. Read more

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