Regional | Ngāpuhi

New Waitangi museum happy to return taonga to Rankin

Outspoken Ngāpuhi chief David Rankin demands that a new museum in Waitangi return sacred tāonga back to his hapū of Te Matarahurahu.

He is demanding the return of Ngāpuhi Chief Hone Heke's personal tomahawk, 'Teketanumia', and the godstick, 'Rangiāwhiowhio', which belonged to the Sacred Priest or Tohunga, Papahurihia.

"The taonga are coming back to us of Te Matarahurahu, 12 December.  Well if they don't come back, I'll let the dogs out!," says Rankin.

The taonga are inside the new museum Te Kōngahu, based at Waitangi which opened to the public on Waitangi Day. The project was part of a $14 million redevelopment of the Treaty Grounds.

The spokesperson for Te Kōhangu Museum Mori Rapana says, "We are a bit confused because he (Rankin) went to the media first. Our relations with him have been courteous.  I think that he has a problem with meeting us face-to-face to discuss the issue at hand."

Rankin also claims that neither him nor any of his hapū, Matarahurahu elders were officially invited to the opening.

"An invitation was sent to him and other iwi, hapū and whānau representatives as well as elders from Te Matarahurahu, from Hone Heke as well," says Rapana.

Te Matarahurahu agreed to lend the taonga to the museum, but Rankin also claims he wasn't given any documentation after the items were handed over.

"They haven't followed the correct cultural procedures and conditions pertaining to the godstick, Rangiāwhiowhio, amongst many other things."

But the Museum also disputes such claims.

"No, we have the correct documentation for the taonga, in which he signed. He has his own copies, and we have ours," says Rapana.
Te Kōngahu has apologised to Rankin for not receiving an invitation.

The Museum also hopes to meet Rankin face-to-face and are happy to return the taonga if need be.