Kā Huru Manu Exhibition

Thursday 30 June 2022

The Ngāi Tahu history of the Hakatere Ashburton District will be explored from the sea to high country in a special mapping exhibition that is now open at the Ashburton Art Gallery and Museum until 18 September 2022.

Kā Huru Manu is a Ngāi Tahu cultural mapping project that is dedicated to mapping the traditional Māori place names and associated stories within the Ngāi Tahu rohe (tribal area).

An exhibition about Kā Huru Manu was initially held at Tūranga in Christchurch in 2019, and has been re-developed with a particular focus on the local stories and place names of Hakatere Ashburton.

The Museum’s Murney Room is being refitted to exhibit seven maps showing Māori place names in the district. The exhibition will also include local stories, associated photographs and sketches, the interactive Ngāi Tahu digital atlas so that people can search the Kā Huru Manu website to look at the history of Māori place names elsewhere, and a video about the Kā Huru Manu project.

Kā Huru Manu brings together an inherited history of Te Waipounamu (the South Island) which details ara tawhito (traditional travel routes) that provided access to resources, trade, and mahinga kai.

Over generations of use, Ngāi Tahu hapū and whānau developed an extensive and intimate knowledge of the place names, stories, mahinga kai resources, resting places, and natural features associated with each ara tawhito.

The exhibition opened to the public on Sunday 19 June after a formal blessing attended by representatives from the local Ngāi Tahu Papatipu Rūnaka. Te Wera King, Upoko of Te Rūnanga o Arowhenua, led the blessing, which was then followed by formal speeches by David Perenara-O’Connell (Te Taumutu Rūnanga) and Deputy Mayor Liz McMillan. Members of the public were invited to attend a talk by Ngāi Tahu Archive Manager Takerei Norton, who discussed the new exhibition and outlined Kā Huru Manu’s wider existence and goals.

Mid Canterbury school teachers were also invited to a special breakfast on Monday 20 June, where they were encouraged to share the project’s educational value with their peers and bring their students into the museum and gallery to see the exhibition.

Come and explore these early maps of Māori place names in the Hakatere Ashburton District for yourself and celebrate the people and their stories that have brought this history to life.