Moriori Cultural Database
Moriori descendant, Nicole Whaitiri with a rakau momori (living tree carving) on Rekohu (Chatham Islands). (Photo: Ross Giblin, courtesy of the Hokotehi Moriori Trust).
Moriori, the Indigenous people of Rekohu (Chatham Islands, New Zealand) have developed a multi-layer database to tie together research on Moriori identity, cultural heritage protection, land use, and resource management in culturally sensitive ways. The project, which will also be used to promote economic sustainability and inform land use decisions, is a response to making heritage and IP protection relevant, respectful and ethical for Moriori. Its vital element is the Indigenous structure, grounded in elder knowledge, that ensures the research methodology, ownership and uses are controlled and cared for by Moriori.
Left: Database team with trainee students Te Whaanga lagoon
These two images show the final stages of removal of a sacred tree with ancient carvings from Rekohu (Chatham Islands). The trees have stood with their living carvings for hundreds of years but in recent months have suffered from effects caused by storm damage and subsequent fungal invasion causing the trees to die and carvings to lift away with the decaying bark.
Sadly, the decision was made to remove the most precious of these carvings for conservation treatment. The IPinCH case study team carried out the removal of seven trees and is now overseeing their conservation and care so that future generations may enjoy these beautiful carvings.
The next stage of the project will see the revival of carving traditions and research into the styles and techniques adapted by Moriori ancestors.
More on the Moriori Cultural Database Project