Tatou Tatou commemorates the historic meeting of the great Maori Te Atiawa chiefs, Te Wharepouri and Te Puni, and the first British settlers, on Pito-one’s (Petone) shores in 1840. The exhibition also explores the ongoing ramifications settlement for both Maori and Pakeha. The title means ‘we, you and I’ or ‘all of us’.
Featuring stories of fire, earthquakes and floods, industry boom and bust and the ongoing sagas of land exchanges, Tatou Tatou provides an insight into the history of this nationally significant site and the peoples involved.
On 18 December 1938, Ivor Te Puni, a descendant of the great Te Atiawa chief Te Puni, wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. The letter requested that in light of the 1940 Centennial Celebrations commemorating 100 years since the first European settlers arrived, the Prime Minister remembers the Maori people who ‘gave’:
“…since we have been locked together ‘Tatou tatou’ wouldn’t it be a fitting tribute to the memory of my worthy forbear the late chief Te Puni, the head and representative of his tribe to have a monument erected at and unveiled at the coming celebrations?”
The result of this remarkable letter was the depiction of Te Puni on the arched window of this Memorial’s façade, extending his hand in welcome to the new settlers.