Foy Brothers

active 1872-1907

Puahaere, Chieftainess of Ngāti Paoa

  • Purchased 2014
  • carte-de-visite albumen photograph
  • 103 x 62mm
  • 2014/004
  • c. 1872-c. 1878

James Joseph Foy (1844–1890) and Joseph Michael Foy (1847–1923) operated a photographic business in Thames in the Coromandel between 1872 and 1907. The brothers reached New Zealand as small boys in 1849; their father was a London police sergeant who joined the New Zealand Fencibles, a military unit hired to protect the fledgling British town of Auckland from attacks by discontented Māori. Foy Brothers photographed many local Māori sitters and utilised a range of customary adornment items as props to increase their portraits’ saleability and supposed authenticity (most Māori in the 1870s wore European-style clothing). Puahaere Te Wherowhero (1840-1901), also known as Ema Te Aouru, was the daughter of the second Maori King, Tawhiao Potatau Te Wherowhero and his wife Aotea. Puahaere was a chieftainess of Ngāti Paoa through her mother Aotea (also known as Harata Patene), a half-sister of Patara Te Tuhi. This photograph became the basis of a portrait by Gottfried Lindauer.