An exhibition to celebrate the lives of Māori elders opens at the Fisher Gallery on 20 October 2000. Anо̄ Te Ātaahua: Honouring the Gifts of Our Elders includes over 60 images of kaumātua from around New Zealand.
The kaumātua’s stories are told in black and white photographs by Nicholas Twist and in their own words based on interviews with Pae Ruha from the Māori Women's Welfare League. “Many Māori elders have devoted themselves to their marae and their communities,” says exhibition curator from the Dowse Art Museum, Elizabeth Kerekere. “Ano Te Ataahua: Honouring the Gifts of Our Elders celebrates the significant contributions of some of these unsung heroes. Kaumātua work hard within their communities with little wider recognition than the satisfaction of making a difference in people's lives,” says Elizabeth.
Each person has their own story but there are many experiences common to those born between 1900 and 1930 that come through as themes in Anо̄ Te Ataahua: Honouring the Gifts of Our Elders, such as the role in the Christian Church, the war years, involvement in the wider community, and care of mokopuna. The photo-documentary and oral history project was undertaken by the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt and Te Puni Kо̄kiri, Department of Māori Affairs, who worked with several Māori community groups to identify the kaumātua who have been included.