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Joy of Museums

Museums, Art Galleries and Historical Sites

Masterpieces and Historical Objects of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki - Joy of Museums

Masterpieces and Historical Objects of the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is the leading public gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, and has the most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand. Many New Zealand and Pacific artists are represented, as well as Europe and art from the Middle Ages to the present day and collection numbers over 15,000 artworks.

Among the many masterpieces and historical objects in the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, the following are highlights:

  • “Tamati Waka Nene” by Gottfried Lindauer
    • Tamati Waka Nene” by Gottfried Lindauer depicts a prominent and courageous Maori chief of the Nga-ti-toa Tribe. Tamati Waka Nene (1780 – 1871) converted to the Wesleyan faith in 1839 and took the name Tamati Waka, after Thomas Walker, an English merchant and patron of the Church Missionary Society. Tamati Waka Nene is recognised as a prime agent in effecting Maori support for the Treaty of Waitangi. When the British assembled the Maori chiefs at Waitangi, to obtain their support for the Treaty of Waitangi, the British proposals were initially rejected by the chiefs, until Nene and his supporters made their move of support. Nene, by his diplomacy, eloquence, and wise words turned the sentiment of the assembled chiefs towards supporting the treaty.
  • “Paratene Te Manu” by Gottfried Lindauer
    • “Paratene Te Manu” by Gottfried Lindauer depicts a Maori with his ‘Tā moko’. Tā moko is the permanent marking of the face and body as traditionally practised by Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. The subject of this portrait, Paratene Te Manu, who was one of 14 Māori who visited England in 1863. He met Queen Victoria, appearing before her in traditional clothing and ornaments. Tā moko is the permanent body and face markings developed by the Māori. Unlike tattoos, Tā moko is carved by chisels in the skin and not punctured. This chiselling process left the skin with grooves, and not a smooth surface.
  • “In Time of Peril” by Edmund Blair Leighton
    • “In Time of Peril” by Edmund Blair Leighton depicts two young princes, one still a baby wrapped in his mother’s elaborate royal clothing, being spirited away from danger to a protective monastery. This painting was created and exhibited during Queen Victoria’s sixtieth anniversary of reign and represented the anxieties stirred by an ageing monarch. As the adults in the boat await anxiously for permission to enter the sanctuary, the young prince looks over his shoulder and the potential lurking danger.
  • “Blow Blow Thou Wind” by John Everett Millais
    • “Blow Blow Thou Wind” by John Everett Millais depicts a winter landscape with a hapless dog at the centre, with divided loyalty between the stranded mother with her child, and the man who is walking away. Which will the loyal dog pick? The mother is seated on a rock in the snow has her shawl pulled over her head to keep the wind and cold from her child as it feeds. In the distance, the child’s father is walking away. The poem below provides a clue to whether he is abandoning the family of going ahead to search for food and shelter.

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“As man disappears from sight, the land remains.”
– Maori Proverb

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Photo Credit: JOM

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