Ngai Tahu Gift Marks Gallery Birthday
15 May 2004
A special ceremony, held this week at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu with representatives of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, marked the gift of a 200kg pounamu.
The pounamu was found in the Griffin Range/Turiwhati area on the West Coast by Pierre Tumahai and Wereta Tainui Junior. The 800 x 600 mm greenstone has been installed at the entrance to the downstairs galleries, atop a bluestone plinth, covered by a whàriki, or woven mat, carved in polished stainless steel.
The pounamu was gifted to the Gallery by Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae, one of the runaka with kaitiaki guardianship responsibilities for pounamu, and Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu.
The pounamu was first used as a mauri stone for the Poutini Ngai Tahu Economic Summit, held in Hokitika in April 2003, before being gifted to the Gallery.
Gallery Director Tony Preston says the gift is a stunning tribute to the Gallery, and a symbol of the close collaboration between the organisation and local iwi.
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