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“It ties us back to our ancestors”: one family’s Oceania story

Published 30 October 2018

Shown together for the first time, two historic carvings in our Oceania exhibition tell the story of a voyaging past that connects the Māori people of New Zealand to their ancestors from far across the Pacific.

  • These two carvings are shown together in the Voyaging and Navigation room of our Oceania exhibition, alongside canoes, oars and other historic treasures. Made thousands of miles (and hundreds of years) apart, they are not themselves associated with oceangoing.

    Instead, they are visual confirmation of a shared ancestry – and a testament to the extraordinary navigational achievements of the people of Polynesia.

    In this video, a family from New Zealand’s Te Rarawa tribe explain why they travelled to London to accompany the Kaitaia Carving (also known as Tangonge), and what it means to them as a people.

    Oceania is in the Main Galleries until 10 December 2018.

    • Installation view of the Gods and Ancestors room

      Book now for Oceania

      Until 10 Dec 2018

      ★★★★★ “A stupendous odyssey through the superb art and fascinating culture of the Pacific… A blockbuster and then some.” – The Guardian.

      Oceania brings together around 200 exceptional works from public collections worldwide, and spans over 500 years. From shell, greenstone and ceramic ornaments, to huge canoes and stunning god images, we explore important themes of voyaging, place making and encounter.

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