New Zealand High Commission Ottawa, Canada
E Tu Ake and Toi Moko
Winton Holmes, Acting New Zealand High Commissioner to Canada recently visited the Province of Quebec to attend two significant events. The first being the opening of the E Tu Ake Exhibition/Maori Standing Strong in Quebec City and the second a Toi moko repatriation handover ceremony in Montreal.
The opening ceremonies of the E Tu Ake /Maori Standing Strong took place at the Museum of Civilisation in Quebec City on 20 November and included a Karakia (blessing) in the morning followed by a larger official opening in the early evening.
A Maori delegation from New Zealand participated in the opening ceremonies which included Rahui Papa Maori elder and cultural expert and Michelle Hippolite Māori Leader of Te Papa (Kaihautū). Members of the Huron-Wendat First Nation, including Grand Chief Mr Konrad Sioui represented local indigenous communities. Other high level attendance included Hon Maka Kotto, Quebec cultural minister, Margaret F. Delisle, Chair of the Board of Governors and General Director, Mr. Michel Côté from the Museum of Civilisation.
The High Commission strongly encourages anyone living in or visiting Quebec City to visit this excellent exhibition. The exhibition is both visually stunning and explores complex themes of Maori self-determination. The E Tu Ake has previously exhibited in Mexico City and Paris.
This is the second major exhibition from Te Papa to visit Canadian shores in recent yearsThe Whales/Tohora exhibition visited the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto (2010) and the Museum of Nature in Ottawa (2011).
On 21 November, in Montreal a repatriation ceremony for a Toi moko was held at the Museum of Fine Arts in Montreal.The Toi moko or mummified head of a Maori warrior has been held in Montréal since 1949 and repatriation follows a formal request made by Te Papa in 2008.
A traditional handover ceremony was held involving speeches by the Maori delegation, Nathalie Bondil, Director of the Museum and Winton Holmes. The ceremony closed with a waiata (song) and the official transfer was completed with the signing of papers.
Both events have received a good deal of media coverage both in English and French language media: