Thursday, June 21, 2012

Good Gottfried 2; A Game of Stones

No-one has set the lawyers on me for this post on Gottfried Lindauer and some of his work. So, seeing how popular the post was with schools in particular, here's a few more from the gallery. The commentary is by James Cowan, so any mokopuna annoyed by what is written, take it up with him. Happy Matariki.

Children Playing Knuckle Stones

The game of knuckle stones - known to peoples the world over - was popular with Maori children under the name of ruru. It was played with five stones thrown into the air and caught deftly on the back of the hand.

Mr A.W. Reed writes: "In the Maori game a rough square is traced on the ground and the stones are placed in the corners. The player tosses the remaining stone in the air, picks up one of the corner stones and catches the first before it touches the ground. As the game proceeds it becomes more difficult as two, three, or four stones must be picked up before the first stone is caught."

Digging with the Ko

This picture shows a typical scene in a Maori commune in former times. A group of men is preparing the ground for planting the kumara (sweet potato). The ko was used for the first loosening of the soil which was later turned with the broad-bladed kaheru (spade).

The diggers gathered in one corner and worked diagonally across the planting area. The practice of planting in diagonal lines was almost universal with the Maori. The diagonal lines were so designed that the sun, as it travelled across the sky, went "between the rows" as the Maori said.

The men with the ko chanted as they worked and moved as one man to the rhythm of ancient and sacred chants.

There were four processes in connection with the planting of the crop - the loosening of the soil, the pulverising of the earth with wooden clubs and careful removal of the roots, the formation of mounds, and the distribution of the seed tubers at the mounds. The planters then attended to the actual planting. Chiefs, commoners, and slaves - men and women - joined in this work in most districts but there were tribes who forbade women taking part in the important task of planting.


Taraia Ngakuti te Tumuhuia was a fierce, uncompromising old firebrand until the end of his days. From his boyhood he was constantly on the warpath, leading his tribe, the Ngati-Tamatera (a sub-tribe of the Ngati-Maru) on one expedition or another. He was one of the principal fighting chiefs of what was known as the Marutuahu, a confederation of numerous and powerful tribes living around the Waihou Valley.

At one time he joined Te Rauparaha and went with him on one of his marauding expeditions to the South Island. He fought at Kaikoura and Kaiapoi against the powerful Ngai-Tahu of Canterbury. After this action he returned to his home at Puru, near Thames.

In 1842, he set off once again, this time to settle an old score with the people of the Ngai-te-Rangi at Katikati, near Tauranga. In this skirmish four men, one woman, and a child were killed, and also some men who were trying to escape in a canoe. After the action, an old-time cannibal feast was held; one of the last in New Zealand. When the news reached Auckland, Acting-Governor Shortland visited Taraia at his pa near Thames to make inquiries. He was received with civility by Taraia. When questioned about the alleged cannibal feast, Taraia freely admitted that it had taken place. But, he said, as it was an old Maori custom and no European was involved, he considered it concerned the Maori alone and he advised the Government to mind its own business.

James Mackay records an example of the imperious manners of the old chief in commenting on the method of administering food to a person under tapu, as illustrated in an earlier picture in this book (goNZo's Note: See top link).

He wrote: "The last occasion on which I saw it performed wan in 1866 at Ohinemuri when Taraia received a drink of water from a slave. Taraia placed his two hands close together with the thumbs outwards and palms upwards; he then put the wrists under his chin and elevated the fingers and the water was poured from a gourd, or calabash, into his mouth. In removing the vessel the attendant happened to touch the chief's extended fingers with it. Taraia cursed the man, seized the calabash and broke it into fragments, collecting the pieces and burnt them on a wahitapu (sacred place).

Paora (Paul) Tuhaere

The chief Paora Tuhaere, of Orakei, Auckland,was one of the best known and widely respected members of the Maori race and a fine example of the old time Maori rangatira. He could speak of the time when he saw the first European settlers put up their tents and raupo whares on the fern covered hills where the city of Auckland now stands.

He was born about 1825 and was a nephew of the famous warrior Apihai te Kawau who was sketched by the artist Angas in 1841. On Apihai's death, Paora became the most influential chief of the Ngati-Whatua, of the Auckland district, known to the Maoris as Tamaki.

Paora was a man of peace. Throughout his life he was a friend of the white people. In 1844 he and other chiefs of his tribe went to Whangarei and made peace with Te Parawhau, then hostile to the Ngati-Whatua.

His kindly and genial tattooed face was familiar to all living around Auckland during the city's early years. He died in 1892 and at his home settlement at Okahu Bay, on the shores of Auckland harbour, a monument marks his last resting place.

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This picture and another Lindauer painting of Paora Tuhaere supply a fascinating demonstration of how the moko was equivalent to a signature or finger print. The second painting was presented to the Auckland City Art Gallery by another donor. It was painted in 1878 and shows Tuhaere as a much younger man, in European clothes. The picture reproduced here shows him in Maori garb toward the end of his life.

There is little in the appearance of the two pictures to suggest that they are of the same man except the moko, which is identical in each painting.

Major Ropata Wahawaha N.Z.C.

A remarkable figure in the history of the wars with the Hauhaus was Major Ropata, warrior chief of the Ngati-Porou, East Cape. A fearless and determined, even ruthless, soldier, he took the side of the Government at the outbreak of the Hauhau wars and the story of his stubborn chase after the rebel leader, Te Kooti, reads like wild romance.

In his boyhood he was taken prisoner by a Poverty Bay tribe and kept as a captive for some years, a number of his people being killed and eaten in the raid in which he was captured. In his later life Ropata took a grim and stern revenge on his oldtime enemies.

In 1864 he began to distinguish himself on the side of the Queen against the Hauhaus. In a fight at Tikitiki he killed a chief with his stome mere, in single combat out in front of his people's lines. For his attack against heavy odds at Ngatapa in 1868 he was awarded the New Zealand Cross. After the capture of Ngatapa, Ropata was left by Colonel Whitmore to deal with the Hauhau prisoners. He gave them short shrift.

In 1870-71 he grimly pursued Te Kooti through the wild forests of the Urewera, in spite of starvation, cold and snow. Innumerable stories are told of Ropata's prowess in battle, of his fearless leadership and of his unrelenting treatment of captured enemies. When a pa was to be stormed or a dangerous position to be won, there was Ropata in the forefront of the charge. His column was the last to remain in the field against Te Kooti.

In after years of peace he was the recipient of a Highland claymore from Queen Victoria. He became a respected member of the Legislative Council and was more than eighty when he died in 1899.

Huria Matenga (Julia Martin)

Heroine of an exploit which earned her the name of "the Grace Darling of New Zealand", Huria Matenga was a daughter of a chief of Whakapuaka, a village on the shores of the Nelson province.

Early on the morning of 4 December 1863, the Maoris saw a vessel lying wrecked on the rocks off shore. It was the Delaware, a brigantine that had sailed from Nelson the previous day. In trying to beat against a strong gale, the vessel was driven on to the rocks, with a huge sea sweeping over her. The mate made an effort to swim ashore with a line but a big sea caught him and dashed him against the rocks. He was hauled back to the ship severely injured.

The Maoris on shore saw the distress of the crew and hurried to the beach. Huria and her young husband Hemi Matenga and a young man named Kahupuku threw off their clothing and swam half a mile through heavy seas until they caught a line from the ship and brought it ashore. Then they assisted each of the crew in turn to safety, sometimes dashing into the surf to rescue those who had fallen from the rope.

When it was learned that the injured mate was still on the ship, Huria and Hemi swam out once again and brought him ashore. The bravery of these Maoris created a great stir at Nelson and money was raised on their behalf. When Huria died in 1909 at the age of seventy-five, both Maori and pakeha united to do her honour. A memorial portrait also by Lindauer, which hangs in the Art Gallery at Nelson, shows her at a later stage of her life.