Aside from Valentine’s Day, another significant milestone was marked yesterday.

It's the 20th anniversary of Te Papa Tongarewa, the national museum.

Māori co-leader of Te Papa, Arapata Hakiwai says Māori arts and culture has been an intrinsic part of Te Papa in its time.

“Pērā tonu i te tuwheratanga kei te harikoa nei a Te Papa Tongarewa, kei te haramai te tini me te mano.”

Te Papa Tongarewa was officially opened in 1998 and they have achieved a number of things within its time.

Hakiwai adds the repatriation of ancestral kōiwi and toi moko has been one of many highlights.

“Koirā te āhuatanga nei o tērā kaupapa te whakahoahoa nei - ki ngā pirimia, ki ngā rangatira o ngā wāhi katoa o te ao nō reira nā te aroha nui o te ngākau ka taea ai tēnei kaupapa.”

Cliff Whiting carved the meeting house of Te Hono ki Hawaiki, it was also his idea to start iwi art exhibitions.

Hakiwai says the exhibitions has been one of the many achievements.

“Tuatahi ko Te Ātiawa, muri mai nei ko Te Aupōuri, tērā a Ngāi Tuhoe, ko te Awa Tupua anō tērā, ko Ngāi Tahu, ko Waikato-Tainui, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, ā i tēnei rā ko Rongowhakaata. Nō reira nō mātou kē te hōnore kia mahi ngātahi ai me ērā iwi.”

Puawai Cairns has been head of the Māori curator's for the past seven years and says to tell iwi's stories in a truthful way is priority to them

“I constantly get approached by museums around the world asking how do we do what we do in presenting indigenous culture and what I tell them is that you have to learn to curate from the beach. You have to learn to give up the driver’s seat to iwi so that they can determine where they want to and how they tell their story and the curator is there to help serve that vision.”

Cairns also tell us about what we can expect in the future?

“I would like to see us open up our collecting practices to the wider communities so that they can have a hand in what is going to be used and what is going to be selected but also looking to the community for different ways to tell stories.”

Celebrations on the anniversary began yesterday afternoon and went into the evening.

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