If only they could hear their babies screaming

James Whakaruru: Beaten, stomped, kicked...and dead

James Whakaruru: Beaten, stomped, kicked…and dead

It seems Maori can hear bits of wood weeping…but they can’t hear their?babies screaming when they bash them to death.

Britain’s National Maritime Museum hopes a group of London-based M?ori can resolve a mystery around artefacts brought back to England by Captain James Cook.

Members of the haka group Ng?ti R?nana have been given rare access to the taonga M?ori, which are set to go on display in 2018.

Group chairman Lewis Whaitiri said they were shown ancient weapons collected in Captain Cook’s first and second voyages.

“We saw tewhatewha, kotiate, patiti and a taiaha… They were tupuna [ancestors]. You could feel the mauri when you walked in.”

“They had been stored away for so long, some of them had not seen a M?ori face or been touched by M?ori since the museum has had them so the mauri that was in that place, you could feel the taonga crying for home.

It’s probably the same sound an alcoholic hears when in the bottle store. That bottle of vodka is literally screaming to be released from its prison. The same thing happens to me when I walk into a computer store. ?The 27″ iMac is just reaching out to me, wanting to come to my home.

Mr Whaitiri said the museum curators told him they did not know much about the taonga, which include a harpoon-head weapon and a long-handled club shaped like an axe.

“Some of these curators had no idea what these taonga were. They look at them and they just see weapons, but we told them these are actually living things of the M?ori people. They are like an extension of your body, in a sense.”

He said, despite having to wear gloves, it felt good to hold them in the appropriate way.

“By holding the taonga, you could feel the mana and the mauri that sits within those taonga and just how happy they were to be in M?ori hands again.”

Get a grip; they are bits of wood, likely traded for goods at the time and willingly handed over to Cook as he traversed the waters of New Zealand.


– RadioNZ