The carving of Pūkākī was held by the Auckland Museum for 120 years. During most of this time it was on display in the museum’s Māori court. When the Te Māori exhibition toured New Zealand and the United States (1984–87) Pūkākī came to represent Māori carving for many people. In 1997 the museum decided to gift Pūkākī back to Ngāti Whakaue. After a welcome (pictured here) at Te Papa-i-Ouru marae in Rotorua, Pūkākī was installed in the Rotorua District Council Offices, where windows provide an outlook onto the carving’s home pā of Te Pukeroa. The return of Pūkākī was part of a wider issue – the demand for the return of thousands of ancestral objects which sit in museums worldwide. Many of these artefacts were collected in dubious circumstances.
Using this item
Private collection, Paul Tapsell
Photograph by Hamish Macdonald
This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.