Te Kohinga Taonga Maori
Items held at the Film Archive which are considered to have significant Māori content are known as the Taonga Māori Collection.
Bastion Point Day 507 (1980)
These images originate from various tribal areas and cover a range of genres and subjects. The collection includes records of karanga, whaikōrero, Iwi and hapū histories, pōwhiri, wharenui and marae, kapa haka, Waitangi Day events (dating from 1934), weaving demonstrations, tukutuku, whakairo and many more.
The Taonga Māori Collection began in the early 1980s, when the Film Archive acquired a collection of unedited images filmed by James McDonald for the Dominion Museum. During the 1920s, McDonald, sometimes accompanied by Te Rangihiroa (Sir Peter Buck) and Sir Apirana Ngata, went on expeditions to the Gisborne and East Coast region, Rotorua, Ruatāhuna and the Whanganui River region. McDonald’s films recorded images of people, local hapū and iwi, as well as a way of life that has long since disappeared.
The Governor, episode 1 (NZBC, 1974)
The preservation of this material was extremely complex. Not only did the physical conservation of the films have to be undertaken, but the images also had to be understood and given context.
Original notes taken by McDonald and his companions, Elsdon Best and Johannes Anderson, provided detailed information. Further context was derived from consultation with Iwi.
Discussing these films with Iwi alerted the Film Archive to the reverence of iwi Māori for films and images of their ancestors. The Film Archive undertook to continue this dialogue to ensure the appropriate representation of their tīpuna and their activities.
In cases of reuse of material from the Archive’s collection every effort is undertaken to ensure that items in the Taonga Maori collection have proper cultural permissions.
Beth (Rena Owen), Once Were Warriors (NZ, 1996)
The Archive continues to acquire many items significant to iwi Māori. As the Taonga Māori Collection increases so too does the Archive’s responsibility to house and care for the taonga in the most appropriate manner possible.
The Archive’s current practice is that all material with significant Māori content automatically becomes part of the Taonga Māori Collection until such a time that iwi discern differently.