Monday, May 31, 2010

From the Museum Files - Otago Museum

When I was in Dunedin last week and the rain fell, I retreated to Otago Museum to test my new camera in low light without flash. I have to say I was delighted with the results and what seemed like a gross over-indulgence when I bought it now seems like a very sound investment. And so to these stunning carvings...... They were made by Ngati Porou carvers near Napier in the late 1870s for the Hawke's Bay chief, Karaitiana Takamoana, who planned to erect a whare Runanga where they would feature. Unfortunately he died in 1979 and the incompleted carvings were abandoned. Dr T.M Hocken, who had heard of the carvings, secured their loan for the New Zealand Exhibition of 1889-90, where they were set up as a house. At the conclusion of the exhibition, Hocken purchased the carvings and gifted them to Otago Museum - which, I have to say, has a small but very beautiful collection of Maori artefacts. (These notes from the Otago Museum exhibition labels).

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