John Kinder

Tauihu, Waka taua Te Toki a Tapiri

Tauihu, Waka taua Te Toki a Tapiri by John Kinder

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A skilled amateur watercolourist who trained under Aaron Penley in England, the Reverend John Kinder tried his hand at photography soon after emigrating to New Zealand in 1855, to be Master of the Church of England Grammar School in Auckland. The attention to detail which characterises his many paintings of the New Zealand landscape also informed his approach to photographic subjects, well evidenced by this image of the prow or tauihu of Ngäti Whätua's war canoe, Te Toki a Täpiri, photographed at Mechanics Bay. The ornate, finely-carved prow, silhouetted dramatically against the sky, exemplifies a level of craftsmanship which would have appealed to Kinder's aesthetic sensibilities. Kinder practised photography for almost two decades in an era when it was a complicated and labour-intensive pastime. The wet-plate process involved the chemical preparation of large plate-glass negatives followed by a lengthy exposure time and immediate development of the plate, requiring in effect a portable darkroom. Although there is a close visual and formal relationship between a number of his photographs and paintings, the former were not simply an aide-mémoire for the latter. Images such as Tauihu are autonomous compositions with individual merit. Tauihu is a record of a cultural artefact seen outside the museum, a memorable image that has accrued historical value with changing perceptions of such objects and their context. (from The Guide, 2001)

Tauihu, Waka taua Te Toki a Tapiri
Production date
circa 1865
albumen on paper
119 x 192 mm
(on page) Head of Whaka (native Canoe) (l.r.)
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1983
Accession no
Other ID
album page 11 Page Reference, 1983/22/15/A
No known copyright restrictions
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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