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This panel is believed to be the oldest known European carving made in New Zealand. It is the work of a runaway sailor, Meadows, and was carved for a Maori snake cult called Nakahi, and decorated their church altar. During Hone Heke’s Rebellion, British troops burned down the church but the carving was carried off shortly before their arrival.
One of the legends about Saint Patrick (5th century) states that he drove the snakes of Ireland into the sea to their destruction. The cult believed that Saint Patrick must have also visited Aotearoa as there are no land snakes here.
- Saint Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland
- Production date
- circa 1838
- 241 x 292 x 38 mm
- Credit line
- Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1975
- Accession no
- No known copyright restrictions
- New Zealand Art
- Display status
- Not on display
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