Archives New Zealand coming to Horowhenua

The National Library, Archives New Zealand and Nga Toanga Sound and Vision are shifting from its building with invaluable items in Wellington to a state of the art facility to be built in the Horowhenua at Taitoko or Levin.

The Taonga or treasures of national significance will be housed in a special purpose (yet to be) built building to help preserve them better than where they are currently housed.

The current site at 10 Mulgrave Street Wellington for Archives New Zealand is an older building susceptible to water leaks and contains asbestos making the decision following a tender process for the best available facility to help maintain important items and national treasures a very easy one in the end.

The announcement was made by Internal Affairs 11 December 2020 in a joint partnership deal struck with Horowhenua Company Limited, Electra and Horowhenua Developments Limited.

Amoung the items of national heritage could be He Wakaputunga o te Rangatiratanga o Niu Terani 1835 or the declaration of the united tribes of New Zealand which was originally signed in 1835 and promulgated in the colony of New South Wales. The document was accepted and acknowledged by the colonial office which gave rise to the requirement of a treaty between nations now called the Treaty of Waitangi 1840 in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Will the treaty be coming to the Horowhenua? It is likely that the document will indeed be cared for in the purpose built Horowhenua facility.

The original signings of Te Tiriti occurred at the ‘tail of the fish of Maui’ Te Tai Tokerau, Northland 6 February 1840 with other copies taken nationwide to be signed by many Maori signatories including Women and children. Many signatures were obtained on the Kapiti Takutai, the spiritual home of the Mua o te Tangata people.

Horowhenua is of course home to the Muaupoko people or ‘the front of the head’ of the fish of Maui – Te Ika a Maui – ‘the fish of Maui’ or more commonly referred to as the North Island of New Zealand. The South Island is also known as ‘Te Waka a Maui’ or the ‘canoe of Maui’.

Captain Cook originally recorded the South Island as Te Waipounamu and the North Island as Ahi No Maui which our research has deciphered for reporting to the Waitangi Tribunal throwing up some doubt as to the meanings applied by usage of Te Ika and Te Waka a Maui interpretations.

After his initial visits to ‘Golden Bay’ aka as ‘Mohua’ or ‘Te Tai Tapu’ at the top end of Te Waipounamu and his interaction with ‘tangata whenua’ – ‘people of the land’ from around 1769.

Image of Te Ika a Maui, ‘Fish of Maui’ and Te Waka a Maui, ‘Canoe of Maui’.

image Te Ika a Maui

Image of Cooks initial Map of Aotearoa – Cook had a Tahitian Interpreter onboard.

cooks Map image

Muaupoko survived through relatively recent invasions by Ngati Toa largely driven by early speculator interaction in the early eighteenth century who were responsible for much upheaval between the tribes as well as the more serious impact of contagious fatal disease and later land acquisitions by the Crown and the dubious operations of the Native Land Court starting in 1865.

The Muaupoko people are made up of original tangata whenua (Mua o te Tangata) and later migrant groups and so their history is a lot older than normally perceived due to largely inaccurate historical literature and whakapapa accounts built around the initial dealings with the Crown.

The business park is likely to attract many visitors including researchers and tourists should the treaty and declaration be put on show as anticipated.

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