Diss Collection Gifted to Ngai Tahu

  • Jim Bolger
Prime Minister

The Prime Minister, Rt Hon Jim Bolger, today presented Ngai Tahu with a set of pounamu (greenstone) taonga.

The gift from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa marked the significance and importance of the settlement of the Ngai Tahu claim.

Mr Bolger made the presentation following the signing of the Ngai Tahu Deed of Settlement at Takahanga Marae in Kaikoura.

The collection is made up of 10 pieces of pounamu; a hei-tiki, 7 pendants, 1 small slice of pounamu and a set of beads.

It was acquired by Geoffrey Diss at an auction in Cumbria, UK, in 1950. He gifted it to New Zealand in 1984.

The collection was formerly owned by Dr Edward Shortland, Sub-Protector of Aborigines in the 1840s and author of The Southern Districts of New Zealand.

Mr Bolger said Dr Shortland was the friend and confidante of Tuhawaiki and other southern rangatira. The pounamu taonga were given to him by Tuhawaiki and his fellows in the course of his epic journey with them.

'They are important in their associations for both Maori and Pakeha,' Mr Bolger said.

Mr Bolger said he was very appreciative of Te Papa's willingness to make the collection available for gifting to Ngai Tahu to mark the significance and importance of the settlement.

The collection will be held in trust for Ngai Tahu at one of the South Island museums.