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

Monument to Te Wherowhero's Favourite Daughter, at Raroera Pah, near Otawhao

Monument to Te Wherowhero's Favourite Daughter, at Raroera Pah, near Otawhao by J W Giles, George French Angas

Artwork Detail

Angas's description:



IT is customary in New Zealand, when any person of rank dies, to erect a mausoleum or monument of carved and ornamented wood to the memory of the deceased. The dead body being placed in an upright position within the building, until the ceremony of lifting and depositing the bones takes place: this monument is called papatupapaku and is variously decorated according to the taste of the Tohunga. The most elaborate of these structures still remaining, is the one raised by Te Wherowhero, the head chief of the Waikato tribes, in memory of his favorite daughter, at the now deserted Pah of Raroera; the old Pah was laid under a strict "tapu" by the chief Te Waro, and has not since been inhabited, the people leaving their arms and provisions exactly as they remained at the moment of the "tapu" being pronounced. At the period of my visit to the decaying ruins of this once magnificent Pah, I found the monument in a tolerable state of preservation: it is about twelve or fourteen feet high, and the carving which displays exquisite skill, was entirely executed by one man, his only instrument being an old bayonet; this person is lame, and still lives at Ngahuruhuru, where I had the satisfaction of meeting him; on seeing the fac-simile of his handiwork, he was so much astonished, that he at once said I was "Ka nui Tohunga" or "a great priest." It is reported of Te Whero whero, that on the occasion of his daughter's death, he was so exasperated, as to pronounce a curse on all the surrounding chiefs: Tariki, the principal chief of Mokau, resented the insult, and demanded utu or payment: in compromise, Te Whero whero presented the latter chief with the original suit of armour given by George IV. to E. Hongi when he visited England. On Tariki's death, the armour passed into the possession of Taonui, the present chief of Mokau, in whose hands I found it, rusty and unused, at the secluded village of Pari-pari."

Monument to Te Wherowhero's Favourite Daughter, at Raroera Pah, near Otawhao
J W Giles, George French Angas
Production date
colour lithograph, watercolour, gum arabic
232 x 232 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased with funds from the M A Serra Trust, 1987
Accession no
Other ID
No known copyright restrictions
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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