LindenLAB 3: Across Time, Place and People

Whakawhānaungatanga – Connecting taonga Māori

Since the end of the 19th century, nearly 150 Taonga Māori (Treasures of the Māori) from Aotearoa New Zealand have entered the Linden Museum’s collection. Clothing, jewelry and weapons, tools, carvings and a carved house make up the bulk of these objects. Many things arrived in Stuttgart by different routes. They were gifts from European travelers, acquired for the museum by patrons, or taken from other collections by exchange or purchase. Little or nothing is known about their whakapapa (genealogy) – the names of their makers, their former owners, and their history in Aotearoa New Zealand. Nevertheless, the Taonga are important and full of meaning for the Māori today. LindenLAB 3 aims to highlight this and at the same time create new relationships between Māori and the Linden Museum.



Making connections between Māori and the museum visible

As part of LindenLAB 3, we explored new ways of engaging with Taonga Māori online and on site by tracing their origins and considering how this creates meaning, Mana and Kōrero, between Māori and the Linden Museum. The project, in collaboration with and guided by Māori researchers and experts, has revealed connections that link the Stuttgart collection to individuals and local communities, as well as to the histories of institutions and nations. We investigated concepts and forms of presentation that can make these relationships visible – without losing sight of the respective cultural meanings, aesthetics, and artistic expressiveness of the objects. In LindenLAB 3, contributors direct individual glances at selected assemblages of historical and contemporary Taonga Māori, underscoring the dynamism of a living collection.

LAB partners

Ngarino Ellis (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou) is Professor of Art History at the University of Auckland and author of the book A Whakapapa of Tradition: 100 years of Ngāti Porou carving, 1830 – 1930 (2016). She has managed and coordinated the LindenLAB 3 partners since the start of the project.

Dougal Austin (Kāti Māmoe, Kāi Tahu, Waitaha) is curator of Māori collections at the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum in Wellington and author of Te Hei Tiki: an enduring treasure in a cultural continuum (2019).

Awhina Tamarapa (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Ruanui) worked as a curator at Te Papa Museum and is an adjunct lecturer for the Museum and Heritage Studies Program at Victoria University Wellington, where she is also completing her PhD. She is the editor and author of Whatu Kākahu / Māori Cloaks (2011).

Justine Treadwell is a PhD student in Māori art history at the University of Auckland. Her research focuses on 18th century Māori textiles held in European collections. Previously, she assisted with the storage of the Māori textile collection at the Auckland Museum.


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