George French Angas (Artist), J W Giles (Lithographer)

Te Heuheu & Hiwikaw, Taupo. Te Kawaw & his Nephew Orakai

Te Heuheu & Hiwikaw, Taupo. Te Kawaw & his Nephew Orakai by George French Angas, J W Giles

Artwork Detail

Angas's description:



TE KAWAW is the principal chief of the Nga ti whatua tribe, residing in the vicinity of Auckland, the capital of New Zealand. Te Kawaw is generally at Orakai, a small settlement about four miles from the capital, where he has large potato plantations. The accompanying portrait of this well-known chief was painted at Orakai, along with that of his nephew, Tamahiki, or Te Rewiti. Te Kawaw is represented sitting upon the ground, in front of a shed, clothed in a kakahu of black and yellow flax leaves, with his meri; and the mako taniwa, or tiger shark's tooth, in his ear. His nephew, who is standing by his side, holds a hani in his hand, and his hair is decorated with the tail feathers of the huia. Beyond is a portion of Orakai Bay.

TE HEUHEU, Mananui, or Tukino, is the principal chief of all Taupo, and one of the most remarkable, as well as influential, of the chiefs of New Zealand. He is a fine old man, with an imposing appearance, and dignified carriage; he stands nearly seven feet high, and is very corpulent. His hair is silvery white, and his people compare it to the snowy head of the sacred Tongariro; there being no object, except this tapu mountain, of equal sanctity to permit of its being mentioned in connection with the head of this chief. At the present time, Te Heuheu has eight wives living; only his favourite one is permitted to eat with him, but not out of the same vessel. Te Heuheu is generous and hospitable: whatever he gives is freely bestowed; and he does not, like many of the chiefs, ask for tobacco or payment in return; - he prides himself upon his rank and dignity, and is glad of an opportunity to display his hospitality to strangers. The greenstone ornaments belonging to the old chief are remarkably fine: his meri poonamu is one of the largest I have seen, and is formed of beautiful semi-pellucid jade. Hiwikau, the younger brother of Te Heuheu, is known also as Nga Papa; he is depicted sitting upon a rock behind his brother, dressed in a kakahu. Beyond is seen a portion of the fence-work of Te Heuheu's court-yard, in his settlement of Te Rapa, with part of Lake Taupo in the distance."

Te Heuheu & Hiwikaw, Taupo. Te Kawaw & his Nephew Orakai
George French Angas, J W Giles
Production date
circa 1847
hand coloured lithograph
365 x 544 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2009
Accession no
No known copyright restrictions
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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