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Resource C: Letter to Curator

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32B Johnstone Street
The Curator
Finesville Metropolitan Museum
P.O. Box 123-12

12 March

Dear Sir,

Yesterday, I my wife and I visited your museum for a treat. We are frequent visitors and value highly the work you and your staff do to keep the exhibits interesting and exciting.

However, imagine our dismay (and disgust) when we came across this piece of pottery shaped as a caricature of a kuia (old Māori woman) smoking a pipe. Not only does the item ridicule our female elders, whom we hold in high esteem and treat with great respect, but it also makes fun of the traditional Māori moko. It seems as if the design may have been modelled on an actual person. How would you like to see your mother represented in such a fashion?

All of this, though, seemed minor, when I noticed that the handle of what I guess is some sort of tankard (Whoever would drink from something fashioned as a person's head?) the handle is a mere that seems to be buried in the side of the kuia's head.This is an outrage against Māori values and generally in very poor taste. The head is tapu to Māori and this item denigrates our sense of respect and decency. Consuming food or drink from a person's head is utterly loathsome to us. I am very disappointed not only that you have seen fit to spend public money purchasing such an item but also that you have it on display to the public. I must insist that you remove the exhibit from display forthwith and put the experience down to a rare lack of good judgement and taste by your organisation.

Wiremu Williams

Download Word file (Word 57 KB)

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