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Te Papa Tongarewa Museum - A Celebration of New Zealand’s Diverse Cultural Heritage

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Today, we visit New Zealand, one of the rare countries to receive many Shining World Awards. In 2006, the government of New Zealand was the recipient of the Shining World Leadership Award for Peace and in 2018, the Shining World Leadership Award for Compassion. In 2019, the New Zealand government also became a laureate of the Shining World Leadership Award for Earth Conservation, the Shining World Leadership Award for Earth Protection, the Shining World Leadership Award for Climate-Change Mitigation, and the Shining World Leadership Award for Earth Restoration, etc. New Zealand’s indigenous Māori title is “Aotearoa,” meaning “Land of the Long White Cloud.”
The Māori name given to New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, means “our container of treasured things and people that spring from Mother Earth here in New Zealand.” Although New Zealand already had a national museum with roots that stretch back to the colonial period, it was decided that the newly constructed Te Papa Tongarewa Museum would create a lasting bond of unity between the Tangata Whenua, the indigenous Māori people of New Zealand, and Tangata Tiriti, the non-indigenous New Zealand people. The entire museum is considered a “waharoa,” or a traditional entrance way, that introduces visitors to a New Zealand rich in cultural and natural heritage. Visitors who arrive at the museum will be greeted with the view of a Rongomaraeroa Te Marae, a traditional, cultural, and spiritual meeting place of the local Iwi and the Māori community, complete with intricately carved waharoa. Uniting Māori and Pakeha, or non-indigenous cultures, is a central exhibition hall. One of the six founding principles upon which Te Papa Tongarewa was built on was the acknowledgment of “Mana Taonga,” the cultural treasure of the indigenous people of New Zealand. Communicating “deep truths about our people,” Mana Taonga reflects Māori knowledge, language, and customs.

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