Kia ora koutou,
He mihi paku tēnei ki a koutou, ki ngā kaimahi me ngā kaitiaki o ngā taonga me ngā pakiwaitara Māori ki roto i ngā whare taonga o te motu.
Ko Ngāīterangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Pūkenga ngā iwi. Ko Puawai Cairns ahau, tēnā anō koutou katoa.
I was asked to write a blog in anticipation of the upcoming Kāhui Kaitiaki Māori hui (11-13th October 2013, Kohupātiki Marae, Clive Hawkes Bay). If I manage to make it to Hastings, it will be my third Kaitiaki hui. The most recent was only this April in Hamilton, a one-day adjunct to the MA13 conference and I think there were about 30 of us assembled at Waikato Museum. There were lots of new faces and what was so heartening was the surprising number of young kaimahi Māori. I managed to finally meet up with Manaaki Pene from Rotorua Museum and we swapped ‘How we got into museum work’ stories. When I swap these ‘origins kinds of stories with other museum workers, there is always a common maniacally enthusiastic theme of ‘I REALLY wanted to work in a museum and would work for free if I had to’ (I adore the ‘crazy’ in kaimahi). Unfortunately for the Hamilton gathering, we weren’t introduced to each other or given much opportunity to have a group exchange, which I would have very much loved. And there were some really interesting papers presented, especially laying down for our benefit, the history of Māori engagement in NZ museums as kaimahi and as source communities. But while these stories were and are important, it felt that much of the focus of the meeting was very much looking into the past, which seemed a little bit like a lost opportunity when surveying the crowd that was there to listen. So I left that meeting feeling unresolved, as if I could have taken much more away than I did.
When we were swallowed up the next day by the many more attendees at MA13, I was also disappointed when the MA13 panels over the following few days separated Leadership and Bicultural Leadership into two separate sessions. If bicultural relationships are truly important to museums in Aotearoa, I would have loved to have seen non-Māori kaitiaki attending the Kaitiaki Māori meeting to share their ideas on that first day (as well as being able to have known who everyone was); and for Bicultural Leadership in the MA13 Conference firmly embedded in any discussions about Leadership. Mixing it up, engaging with each other, sharing ideas and, if necessary, have some furious debates.
So what am I hoping for at this next meeting?
- Meeting lots of haati new faces from around the country as well as reconnect with old friends, and especially to hear the different projects that are in progress around the motu.
- Encouraging attendance and participation at Kaitiaki Māori hui by non-Māori colleagues. We all share a deep love of the taonga that are in our care, it would not only be a great professional development opportunity for them but we’d also be able to discuss how we share museum guardianship, and museology culture in Aotearoa.
- Lots of discussion at every opportunity to talk about the concept that is Māori Museology – have we defined that practice? Does it exist? Are there new ways to do things? Are there existing methods which have definitely had their day? What terminologies are in use now? Are Te Tipuranga, Te Puawaitanga, Te Huringa I, II, III still useful?
- Have we talked about the Māori audience lately? How are we addressing them? Do we know if they’re happy with museums and how we serve them?
- Ideas and debates about our responsibility as kaitiaiki within the museums of the future to Mātauranga Māori, to Tangata Whenua, our need to address to hybrid knowledge and practices, and how to best keep in step with where Māori are going to in the future.
- What’s happening throughout the world in the realm of indigenous museology? How are international museums handling their source community relationships? What can we learn? What can we teach?
So imagining the future for Māori and museums, I dwell on relationships – how do we continue to build and learn from relationships among future professionals, future communities, and future organisations, for the integrity of future museum practice? But I don’t see this as purely a kaimahi Māori responsibility to develop or think through, I think it is a duty that is shared by all museums in Aotearoa and those of us that choose to do the work we do.
So I’m looking forward to being bewildered by all the new and old faces and, like I said, some hefty awesome kōrero. To everyone travelling there, travel safe and hopefully see you in a few weeks.
For more information and to register for Tītiro Whakamua – Kāhui Kaitiaki Hui go to: http://www.museumsaotearoa.org.nz/t%C4%ABtiro-whakamua-k%C4%81hui-kaitiaki-hui