Author(s): Huhana Smith
Based on a unique exhibition of the customary and contemporary taonga (treasures) of Maori, E Tu Ake: Standing Strong presents New Zealand's indigenous people as a culture that is dynamic, diverse, politically strong and globally engaged. This book includes images and descriptions of over 100 of the most impressive, highly valued ancestral taonga in the museum's collections - from a carved whare tupuna (ancestral meeting house) to a waka whakamaumaharatanga (canoe cenotaph); from unique jewellery to customary hand-held weaponry, tools, and finely woven cloaks. Alongside these ancestral treasures are more than 50 images of contemporary art works, objects, historical photographs, digital media installations and personal stories. Together, they portray a contemporary, indigenous culture of great artistic depth. In highly accessible language, E Tu Ake tells the story of Maori and introduces the concepts that underpin the Maori world view - concepts like mana, whakapapa and kaitiakitanga - as well as exploring the historical struggle for tino rangatiratanga, or self-determination, that continues to drive Maori creative and political expression today.
Huhana Smith (Ngäti Tükorehe, affiliated to Ngäti Raukawa ki te Tonga) PhD was Senior Curator Mäori at Te Papa from 2003 until December 2009. She has lectured in Museum Studies and Mäori visual art. She has written on taonga tuku iho (valued ancestral treasures) and contemporary Mäori art and visual culture. Smith led the Mätauranga Mäori section for Icons Ngä Taonga (Te Papa Press, 2003) and was the general editor of Taiäwhio: Conversations with Contemporary Mäori Artists (Te Papa Press, 2002), Taiawhio II: 18 New Conversations with Contemporary Mäori Artists (Te Papa Press, 2007) and Toi Ora: Ancestral Maori Treasures (Te Papa Press, 2008). A practising artist/painter, Smith illustrated Haere, Farewell, Jack, Farewell by Tim Tipene (2005), winner of the 2006 New Zealand Post Children's Book Honour award. An active kaitiaki (Mäori environmentalist) she is currently leading a Mäori research team in a major environmental project until 2015 that is assessing ecological decline for waterways into the marine for a stretch of coastline in Horowhenua south west coast North Island.