Te Ana Māori Rock Art Centre
Tuesday10:00 am – 3:00 pm.
Wednesday10:00 am – 3:00 pm.
Thursday10:00 am – 3:00 pm.
Friday10:00 am – 3:00 pm.
Saturday10:00 am – 3:00 pm.
2 George Street, Timaru
0800 468 3262
Te Ana Māori Rock Art Centre in Timaru offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience and learn about the ancient Māori practice of rock art. A special feature of the Aoraki region, rock art has been found in multiple locations on the South Island, with the highest density of sites found in the Aoraki region of South Canterbury.
As soon as you enter Te Ana, you’ll get the sense that you are in an exceptional place. You will be drawn into the centre by the sound of the kāranga, then retrace the steps of the local Ngāi Tahu iwi (the Māori tribe of the South Island) on their mahika kai (seasonal resource gathering) journeys. Explore the practise of rock drawing and learn about the stories and legends passed down through generations of Rapuwai, Kāti Mamoe, Waitaha and Ngāi Tahu iwi. Te Ana holds one of the most significant rock art collections in the country, housing eight pieces of ancient Māori rock art removed from sites more than a century ago.
The centre is created to evoke the limestone caves and overhangs where the rock art was created, with soft lighting and rock art designs decorating undulating rock walls. Filled with interactive information, wandering through Te Ana transports you back in time and allows you to appreciate the rich history and culture of Aotearoa’s indigenous people.
To get the most out of your visit, join a local Ngāi Tahu guide to explore all that Te Ana has to offer. Experience the Cave of the Taniwha, where rock art designs appear stroke by stroke as if being painted as you watch; hold an ancient moa bone; or make your own works of art at the rock art rubbing table.
To deepen your knowledge of Māori rock art and culture, take a site tour to a group of nationally significant rock art sites at Ōpihi, and explore Aotearoa's original art galleries with a guide descended from the people that created the art.
A non-profit organisation, Te Ana works as katiaki (guardian) of rock art in the South Island on behalf of Ngāi Tahu. All the revenue earned from visitors to the centre and site tours is used to protect and revitalize the special taonga (treasure).
Words by Petra Nyman & Photography by Nancy Zhou
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