Dame Anne Salmond hosts epic series

02 May 2018

Distinguished Professor Dame Anne Salmond is hosting a new television series that uses a range of iconic Māori objects to tell a story of New Zealand’s past.

Artefact will screen on Māori Television on Mondays at 8.30pm from Monday 7 May to Monday 11 June.

In a North & South interview about the series, Dame Anne describes the artefacts as "portals to the past".

"Our artefacts are not just dull and dusty carvings around walls, they are our ancestors and the series gives people the chance to share experiences that are absolutely from the heart."

Each episode features different artefacts or taonga, both famous and obscure, with Dame Anne using the objects to explore and tell stories of New Zealand's culture and how those stories and connections have shaped Aotearoa.

Dame Anne Salmond in the Auckland War Memorial Museum Library
Dame Anne Salmond in the Auckland War Memorial Museum Library. Photo: GreenstoneTV 2017

One episode centres on a hoe (paddle) given by East Coast Māori to the crew of Cook’s Endeavour in 1769, marking the first peaceful encounter between Māori and European. For Dame Anne the story of the hoe is not just about our past but has significant contemporary resonance with the upcoming 2019 commemorations of the "first encounter".

Another episode explores the political potency of clothing. Titled Threads that Bind, the episode features a black and white dress printed with traditional motifs that was worn by New Zealand's first Māori woman cabinet minister, Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan and a dramatic appearance by Kiwi artist and 'cultural commentator' Rosanna Raymond at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Dame Anne and the crew from Auckland production company Greenstone TV travelled to New York, London and Europe during filming for the series, with local support also provided by a number of University staff in research or onscreen capacities: lead researcher Dr Billie Lythberg, Professor Deidre Brown, Associate Professor Manuka Henare, Dilys Johns, Dr Saeid Baroutian, Dr Kiri Dell, Philomena Pai and Te Awatea Rangiuia. Scenes have been filmed at Grafton Campus, Waipapa Marae, Tu Tahi Tonu Marae at Epsom Campus.

Find out more about Artefact