Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Taonga of Otautau

I've been looking into the issue of Protected Objects lately - namely taonga in Otautau that originated from Ngai Tahu, Ngati Mamoe or Waitaha, the early people of this area.

There have been some adzes found in the Otautau area - mostly by farmers as they dug up their paddocks. Some of these have stayed quietly in the families for many years. I was curious as to the cut-off date regarding taonga and found this bit of information on the Ministry of Culture and Heritage website.
Taonga tūturu found after 1976 are, in the first instance, the property of the Crown. The Ministry decides who should have custody of such objects, and ownership by any interested party can be claimed through the Māori Land Court.
So it seems, discovery of taonga, if it happened more than 35 years ago, means that the finders get to keep what they found. However, I would encourage discussions with the local runaka, Oraka Aparima Runaka (Riverton) as they are well-placed to care for such items and have their own whare taonga - a place where their taonga are on display for all interested. We, at the Otautau Museum, are not Registered Collectors of Taonga Tūturu so cannot hold such items in our collection.

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