I woke up ready and excited for today. We were going to the museum! I came into school seeing smiles on everybody’s faces. We had morning tea early and then hopped straight on the bus. My best friend and I were talking about how we go to the museum a lot but never really look at the pre-European Maori display. I was impatient because I REALLY wanted to get to the museum and start our visit that our awesome teachers had planned for us.
When we got to the museum we started by going to all the pre-European Maori displays. I walked into the exhibit and actually just said “WOW”. There were so many different artefacts and displays! As I dug deeper I realised that these were all stories: the tikis, meres, tahias, carvings, etc. They all tell a deep meaningful story. That is what really got me. I had to stand back and think: “All these objects I see before me are stories that people have shared and passed down through generations. I am now looking at them behind a glass display.” We spent hours just looking at everything and taking in so much information about what life was like back then.
Then it was time to go to our workshop. I was really looking forward to this the whole day. We started off outside the Marae defining the difference between a treasure and a tool. We moved further into the Marae and got split into three groups. We then got handed two objects in different black bags. We passed them around the circle feeling everything carefully and trying to figure out what it was, what it was used for and if it was a treasure or a tool. We then shared our answers to the rest of the class.
My group had a beautifully carved whale bone club and an intricately carved flute. Our instructor even played it for us! It was a very sad sounding flute because it was used to tell sad stories amongst the village. Some people say that if you listen closely you can even hear people singing the sad song. We then learnt about which artefacts would’ve been used as tools back then but now they are actually treasures because of the time, effort and history that are in these objects. After the workshop I looked at every artefact differently. I would think to myself: how long did that take to make? Would only important chiefs and leaders use that? And last but not least: Is that a tool or treasure?
By Sara Korpus 7JNT