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Unfolding the Map, exhibition image

Unfolding the Map

This exhibition is now closed.

Historic maps are windows on our past

Before Europeans arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand the Polynesian ancestors of Māori had sailed the Pacific extensively. Māori had no need for print maps – theirs was an oral cartography. Unfolding the Map, though, does show one of the very first maps made by Māori.

When Europeans did visit or settle they had certain priorities. Firstly they needed to sail here and make it safely ashore. Secondly they looked for shelter, food, and security. Next they would search further afield for resources to exploit. And then they might find time for leisure and recreation.

The same pattern is broadly evident in the legacy of print maps displayed in Unfolding the Map with most of them falling into five themes. With the addition of a section on Polynesian Navigation and the section on digital mapping we have seven sections in the exhibition that we can examine:

Digital mapping

The introduction of digital mapping has dramatically changed cartography. Unfolding the Map includes examples of digital mapping in the exhibition.