Britain’s National Maritime Museum hopes a group of London-based Māori can identify artifacts brought back to England by Captain James Cook.
Captain Cook was an English explorer. He first sighted New Zealand on 6 October 1769, and landed at Poverty Bay two days later. He drew detailed and accurate maps of the country, and wrote about the Māori people.
The artifacts are mainly ancient weapons collected in Captain Cook’s first and second voyages. They are due to go on display to the public in 2018.
Captain Cook kept a diary that could provide clues about where artifacts came from, as well as looking at the patterns of the carvings.
The Maori group chairman Lewis Whaitiri said “They had been stored away for so long, some of them had not seen a Māori face or been touched by Māori since the museum has had them so the mauri that was in that place, you could feel the taonga crying for home.”
Te Papa Māori co-leader Arapata Hakiwai said he would rather they were back in Aotearoa but he could appreciate the value of showcasing Māori culture overseas.
Taonga: (noun) property, goods, possessions, effects, treasure.
Mauri: (noun) the life force or essence of the emotions.