Apr 15, 2021

TangataWhenua.com

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Ngai Tahu rock art centre opens in Timaru

2 min read

(by FLEUR COGLE – The Timaru Herald) Construction on Te Ana Ngai Tahu Rock Art Centre has finished 10 days ahead of its official opening next week.

Housing the largest and most significant collection of Maori rock art in the world, the centre will be opened at a special ceremony to be held in Timaru next Friday.

The event, to be attended by about 200 invited guests including Ngai Tahu Kaiwhakahaere Mark Solomon, Sir Tipene O’Regan, local mayors and MPs, will start with a blessing at 11.30am. A powhiri to officially welcome guests will follow.

The centre is hugely significant for Ngai Tahu. It is the culmination of years of hard work and devotion to protecting and preserving this important cultural and historical toanga for the iwi and now we have the perfect showcase for sharing it with the world,” Mr Solomon said.

Centre manager Ben Lee said the project’s organisers were pleased it had come in on time and budget, however there was still plenty to be done before the opening of the interactive tourism attraction.

Mr Lee said the centre had created positions for five new guides, who were being trained this week.

“It’s very exciting. All the people who have been through it are very excited. There is a sense of anticipation about the whole thing.”

Curator for the Ngai Tahu Rock Art Trust, Amanda Symon, said Te Ana would offer “a genuine cultural interpretation of the rock art from this region”. “Visitors will be taken on a unique journey through the rich cultural history of Ngai Tahu via interactive multi sensory displays supported [and] hosted by our especially trained local guides,” she said.

“We are pretty excited about what the future holds. With growing interest internationally in rock art and a significant rise in cultural tourism we are projecting that Te Ana is likely to attract up to 34,000 visitors each year.

“That’s a huge boost in terms of the protection of the rock art as all profits from Te Ana will be used for that purpose but also for the South Canterbury economy, and as a great source of employment for the locals.”

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