Museum and Heritage Studies Seminar at the Stout Research Centre, 3 April 2024

Whakarongo ki ngā Taonga Tuku Iho: Listening to Taonga Held in French Museums, Dr Lisa Renard

Wednesday 3 April 2024
4.10pm to 5.15pm

Stout Research Centre Seminar Room
12 Waiteata Road, Kelburn Campus
Te Herenga Waka Victoria University of Wellington

In France, the majority of the Māori taonga are housed at the Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac in Paris, where 268 taonga are registered in the collections of the museum. Based on previous research conducted during my M.A. and my Ph.D. at the University of Strasbourg, France, I found that the oldest taonga in French museums travelled from Aotearoa to France in the late 18th and first half of the 19th centuries. For many years, Māori specialists across Aotearoa have sought to access more information about taonga in museums around the world. My postdoctoral research is intended to help meet these needs and to demonstrate the richness of the taonga tuku iho biographies and agencies, particularly in terms of their mnemonic qualities, when reunited with the tangata whenua of Aotearoa and other taonga tuku iho.

This paper presents the state of my research in relation to 4 kākahu, 2 hei tiki, 3 taonga pūoro, and 1 rākau atua associated with the voyage of French explorer Jules César Sébastien Dumont d’Urville on board l’Astrolabe in 1827.

Lisa Renard is a social and cultural anthropologist and museologist. Her PhD from the University of Strasbourg (2020) is titled, “The Māori Art of weaving relationships: analysis of the relationships between the living and their ancestors through the intermediary of Māori cloaks (kākahu) as ancestral treasures (taonga) in Aotearoa New Zealand.” Her passion is researching taonga in museums and providing greater understanding of Te Ao Māori, kaitiakitanga and knowledge practice. Since 2012, she has been teaching social and cultural anthropology at the University of Strasbourg and has worked in different museums in France, Germany, the Netherlands and Aotearoa. In January 2023, she was awarded a prestigious two-year Post-doctoral Research Fellowship by the Fyssen Foundation. She currently works at the University of Auckland, Faculty of Arts, under the guidance of Associate Professor Ngarino Ellis. Lisa Renard’s research topic is “The Mnemonic qualities of Taonga (Māori Ancestral Treasures) housed in French museum collections.”