Ngā Wai Honohono – Bound by Water

Taonga (treasures) Maori have been gathered together around the great waka taua (war canoe) Te Mata-o-Hoturoa in Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi, the Maori Court. They bind together the people of the awa (river), their stories and the great awa itself.

    The many different iwi (tribes) within the Whanganui Regional Museum district are awa (river) people. From Rangitīkei in the east, across to Turakina, Whangaehu, Mangawhero, Manganui-o-te-Ao, Ōngārue, Whanganui, Kai Iwi, Waitōtara and Pātea in the west, iwi have always lived on these waterways and relied on them for spiritual, cultural and physical sustenance. Water is afforded the deepest respect, as water means life. Māori also acknowledge these awa with their many tributaries as living entities, as tūpuna (ancestors) with mouri (life essence), which needs to be cared for and nurtured.

    Many of the taonga (treasures) within these walls come from the people of these waterways. Others find their origins on the banks of waterways further afield. Each taonga has a story to tell.

    Ngā Wai Honohono acknowledges all our waterways, binds together our stories, celebrates our histories and our taonga, and brings us together in one space and time.