Anger over treatment of taonga at Waitangi Museum

  • 08/02/2016
The museum opened its doors to the public on Sunday (Supplied)
The museum opened its doors to the public on Sunday (Supplied)

A Ngapuhi leader is outraged at the newly opened Waitangi Museum's treatment of his family's precious treasures.

David Rankin claims he loaned the museum taonga, including Hone Heke's axe, but never received the proper paperwork and was left off the invite list for the opening.

Mr Rankin has set a deadline for the return of the artefacts and is threatening police action.

"They came to ask us for taonga to use in an exhibition and we gave them graciously, but they haven't even acknowledged the people, the hapu and the guardians of the taonga," he says.

Mr Rankin says previous attempts to negotiate return of the taonga have failed.

The chief executive of the Waitangi National Trustm Greg McManus, is completely baffled by claims of mistreatment of precious artefacts at the hands of the Waitangi Museum.

Mr McManus says the proper documentation around the taonga has existed for more than a decade.

"There's a bit of confusion around the loan agreements. We have loan agreements for all of Mr Rankin’s taonga that dates back to 2005 so the documentation is all there," he says.

"He most certainly has not tried to contact me. I'm always available and as far as I am concerned I have spoken to our curator and also the chairman of the trust and neither of them have any record of him trying to contact them as well."

Mr McManus says he is "a little bit disappointed he didn't discuss his concerns with us directly".

"I'm absolutely confident that we've done everything by the book, and we have a signed loan agreement in place, but if Mr Rankin was unhappy about the way we’re looking after his taonga he has every right to withdraw them," he says.