For a fee, one can peruse the taonga (treasure) behind closed doors in Te Papa's archives. One must have a research purpose to be there, as time is valuable and there are strict protocols involved dealing with wahi tapu or sacred things.
No photos due to restrictions so sorry, but you will just have to rely on my limited description.
Firstly we entered the raranga room which contains weaving. Most done with the fine muka fibre of the New Zealand harakeke plant, or flax. We viewed both kakahu (clothing) and korowai (traditional cloaks) worn by rangatira (chiefs). One was c1870's, from Captain Cooks collection. Captain Cook was the first English man to come to New Zealand.
The skill involved in the fine weaving techniques, taniko and dyeing was mindblowing. Other materials used included other plants, kuri (dog) hair, wool, kiwi and other bird feathers, and even an embroidered one.
We then moved into another taonga chamber and saw jade/bone/paua/fibre kahawai hooks, mako or sharks teeth jewellery, wooden heru/combs, and fine bone implements, including needles.
For the first time, I have felt a connection to something I can go deep with. These treasures are my heritage and my tamariki's (childrens) heritage. Of particular interest is the potential to create motifs from the collection.
I felt like someone gave me a canvas I can recognise and permission to create what it is I feel inside. These taonga created by my ancestors acknowledged my right to create my way and my own understanding of precious objects as I view them.
Art school is such a dichotomy. On the one hand there I am, in an environment where I can grow skills to match my love for being creative, and on the other hand, politics and personalities. Sometimes it's damn cut throat and competitive which I hate. I had a bad afternoon at school with other folks bad behaviour and attitudes bringing the atmosphere down. Some of my colleagues have been harassing me for a while now, and I have had enough.
Still tonight, in spite of having to face all the externalised crap from others, I have managed to create a wee stitched patch for my bag, and I have a notebook full of sketches from today.
I love to create art. I enjoy my journey. Just some of my companions are behaving badly. Time to clear the air I think. Thank God I come home to my sane husband and dear children. They are medicine after days like today. My joy is finding the rainbows after the storm. I need some rainbows I think.