Museums and Maori: Heritage Professionals, Indigenous Collections, Current Practice

For centuries, Maori treasures, or taonga, have been some of the most prized, popular and precious objects held in museums around the world. From Te Maori to Te Papa and beyond, initiatives in Aotearoa New Zealand over the last 30 years have continued to provide new models for museums around the world. With this has changed the role of museum staff who face new challenges in collecting, caring for and exhibiting the taonga of the Maori people in partnership with iwi (tribes) as well as developments involving the repatriation of human remains, the opening of cultural centres, and debates over identity, cultural property and heritage management. How do museum professionals deal with the indigenous objects in their care from day to day? How do they engage on a practical level with tribal communities? How do museums structure themselves to meet the needs of visitors as well as these communities? For the first time ever, Museums and Maori answers these questions. Using practical examples and the voices of the indigenous professionals and community representatives who have transformed museum practice in New Zealand over the past three decades, this all-new book provides an up-to-the-minute snapshot of New Zealand museums today across the whole range of museum work: mission and governance, management and staffing, collection care and management, exhibition development, education and public programmes, research and training. Ground-breaking initiatives - and their legacies - are revealed through interviews, policy documents, images and observations of professionals at work in museums ranging from the national museum Te Papa to the tiniest regional galleries. Museums and Maori addresses a major gap in the literature and a yawning gulf in professional training, making it indispensible as a reader for students, a handbook for professionals and a critical study relevant to the academic fields of museum and heritage studies, anthropology, art history, cultural studies, history, indigenous studies, and development studies.