Country: New Zealand
Tapunga’s admiration and passion for his indigenous heritage drives him to develop and enhance his understanding of all things M?ori in particular, Te Reo M?ori (the M?ori language), Tikanga M?ori (M?ori traditional customs) and Tonga M?ori (M?ori treasures). Through his professional involvement with taonga M?ori, Tapunga has developed an understanding of a balanced methodology around the caring of taonga M?ori.
With a background in education, he firmly believes that education is an essential tool in developing the capacity and capabilities of indigenous people, with the hope that one day, M?ori or any other indigenous people can manage and care for their traditional taonga, and truly fulfil the role of kaitiekitanga (guardianship).
Tapunga is responsible for the care and access of the taonga M?ori collection held at Tair?whiti Museum. He supports and assists with the management of the taonga M?ori Collection, acts as the Tikanga M?ori (indigenous customs) advisor and responds to any inquiries related to the taonga M?ori collection. Tapunga also develops, maintains, researches and delivers exhibitions on the collection. He liaises with artists, lenders, other museums and iwi regarding taonga M?ori. Tapunga builds and maintains relationships with iwi, M?ori and Non-M?ori organisations and maintains regular contact with local iwi, marae and other communities.
At the British Museum
During his time on the International Training Programme 2017, Tapunga was based in the Department of Africa, Oceania and the Americas and spent his partner placement at Manchester Museum and Manchester Art Gallery.
Tapunga worked with fellow Mona Melling (Documentation and Content Development Officer, Sarawak Museum, Malaysia) on his exhibition proposal project, entitled Transporting Identities: Exploring Iban and M?ori Carved Vessels.