Things to do  |  19 Apr 2024

A dawn ceremony will herald the opening of a new exhibition at Akaroa Museum this weekend.

The exhibition tells the story of Takapūneke and the long journey for the site to gain due recognition as a place of cultural and historical significance.

Takapūneke sits between Akaroa and Ōnuku in Akaroa Harbour and was an important centre for trade between Ngāi Tahu and Europeans. Following a massacre in the 1830s, the area became tapu.

Despite this, a wastewater plant was developed there in 1964  without any consultation with the local hapū, and a dump added in 1979.

Ōnuku Rūnanga endeavoured over many decades to educate councils, national bodies and individuals about the history of the area. In 2002 Takapūneke Historic Reserve was registered as Wāhi Tapu (a place of outstanding historical and cultural heritage values).

Pou-tū-te-Raki-o-Te-Maiharanui at Takapūneke was designed and created by Ngāi Tahu carver Fayne Robinson. Image: Victoria Andrews. 

In recent years, the rūnanga has worked jointly with Christchurch City Council to develop a landscape master plan that acknowledges the cultural and historical importance of Takapūneke. The creation of Pou-tū-te-Raki-o-Te-Maiharanui and the Park of Reflection represent the completion of the first phase of work at Takapūneke  Reserve.

Lynda Wallace, Akaroa Museum Director, says the creative work in the landscape design and whakairo rakau (carving) responds to the nationally important history of Takapūneke and its cultural significance to the whānau of Ōnuku. “They are a significant Ngāi Tahu-led reimagining of that whenua (land).”

The museum has collaborated with Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Ōnuku Rūnanga and the Takapūneke Reserve Co-Governance Group to present the exhibition.

 He Ara Roimata ki te Anamata - Takapūneke, our journey, our survivance opens at Akaroa Museum, 71 rue Lavaud, Akaroa on Saturday 20 April 2024 and can be viewed until November 2024. The museum is open 10.30am - 4.30pm seven days a week.