Gottfried Lindauer

Tawhiao Matutaera Potatau Te Wherowhero

Tawhiao Matutaera Potatau Te Wherowhero by Gottfried Lindauer

Artwork Detail

This outstanding portrait shows a charismatic leader and paramount chief of the Tainui tribes, Tāwhiao Matutaera Pōtatau Te Wherowhero. In 1863, three years after succeeding as the second Māori king, he led the Waikato tribes' resistance against a massive invasion of their lands by colonial forces, and then, in 1884 travelled to England with a deputation of rangatira in an unsuccessful attempt to petition Queen Victoria over the dishonoured Treaty of Waitangi. Images of Māori people are a defining genre within colonial New Zealand art and Lindauer's position as a leading portraitist has often been debated. His painting technique is flat and lacks animation, yet unlike Charles Goldie, who used the same sitters many times and usually in his Auckland studio, Lindauer produced commissioned portraits for both Māori and Pākehā clients. He also made large paintings showing Māori in traditional activities: cultivating crops, weaving, plaiting flax kete and children at play. The portraits of outstanding Māori personalities, both in European and traditional dress, are a fascinating pictorial record. In the European tradition, portraits of forebears are not often revered, but for many Māori, images of respected ancestors provide vital links to the past. Just as when they were displayed in Henry Partridge's upstairs room, the collection of Lindauer portraits at the Gallery is an important destination for many Māori visitors. (from The Guide, 2001)

Tawhiao Matutaera Potatau Te Wherowhero
Gottfried Lindauer
Production date
oil on canvas
1023 x 847 x 55 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr H E Partridge, 1915
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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