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The exhibition, "Maori Treasures from the Otago Museum of New Zealand", was farewelled this week by a small group representing coastal marae south of the Waitaki River.
A total of 337 items will make the trip along with nine members of Ngai Tahu, who will welcome the exhibits in Shanghai with a blessing and a kapa haka performance.
Six pieces from the museum's tangata whenua gallery have been included, as have four types of pounamu and larger pieces of jade.
Otago Museum advisory committee chairman Matapura Ellison delivered a karakia to clear the way for a safe journey for the items before members of the group blessed the crates by touch.
Planning for the exhibition began in 2008 before accelerating at the beginning of this year.
Mr Ellison said he was "absolutely stoked with the fact it has progressed to this stage".
"I'm sure the people of Shanghai will be enthralled with what they see."
The exhibition will be on show in the Shanghai Museum from July 21 to November 6.