Our Role As Maori Rock Art Guardians

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Ngāi Tahu Whānui is the most widespread tribe of Te Waipounamu, the South Island of New Zealand. Our whakapapa (genealogy) binds us to this land, and to our ancestors who discovered, explored and settled it.  We are an amalgamation of Waitaha, the first people to settle here about 700 years ago, and Ngāti Mamoe and Ngāi Tahu who migrated later from Te Ika o Maui (the North Island). 

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The Ngāi Tahu Māori Rock Art Trust

ngaitahu-trust

The Ngāi Tahu Māori Rock Art Trust was established in 2002 to support Runanga or Māori Regional Councils and their communities in the care, management and interpretation of their Māori Rock Art heritage. The main objectives of the Trust are to ensure the preservation and protection of Māori rock art for the benefit of Ngāi Tahu whānui, and for all New Zealander's, and to take a leading role in the conservation and management of rock art throughout Ngāi Tahu’s tribal boundaries.

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Story of the Rock Art

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Rock art can be found in many countries worldwide, dating back to as early as 60,000 years ago. Rock paintings and 'cave art' of indigenous people provide us with some of our earliest insights into our ancestors. Dotted throughout Europe, the Americas, Africa and the Pacific these paintings and drawings have been the subject of considerable enquiry and interpretation. For more on world rock art go to the Bradshaw Foundation.

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Rock Art Conservation

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Rock art may appear to be one of the most durable surfaces on which to apply art, yet drawings of charcoal and ochre are perhaps the most vulnerable in existence.
They are vulnerable because the materials used to create the art are perishable,and few other works of art are required to stand the punishment of the elements, windborne dust, animal rubbing, changes to the environment and, indeed, time.

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