Maori Court at Wanganui Museum
About 2,000 people looked on as the Minister of Maori Affairs, Mr J. R. Hanan, was challenged by Te Utupoto Tamehana on the forecourt of the Memorial Hall when he arrived to open the Maori Court and other extensions to the Wanganui Museum, on 7 July.
The Mayor, Mr R. P. Andrews, welcomed Mr Hanan to the city, Mr G. McDouall, chairman of the Museum Board of Trustees, spoke of extensions to the museum, the central part of which is the Maori Court, and Mr E. Atkinson, chairman of the fund-raising committee, thanked all who had made bequests or had in any way helped raise funds.
Mr Rangi Metekingi spoke for the Maori people, and massed Maori choirs sang, Members of the official party and about 150 invited guests entered the museum, where a service of dedication was performed. Mr Hanan then declared the Maori Court, Te Atihaunui-a-Paparangi, open. During his speech he appealed to members of the public to return traditional Maori treasures to recognized Maori families, tribal leaders, a tribal trust board, a museum, or some other accepted place of guardianship, for safe keeping. He also suggested that derelict Maori meeting houses should be dismantled, and the carvings stored in a safe place until the day when a new house was wanted.
The function concluded with several local Maori people leaving family treasures at the museum for safe keeping.