The Pātaka Cabinet

The Pātaka Cabinet


Past event

Meet in the exhibition


Colonial furniture expert and furniture restorer William Cottrell, and Dan Smith, curator at Akaroa Museum, will discuss the conservation and restoration of the intricately-carved William Henry Menzies Stanford family pātaka cabinet (c.1985), a recent Gallery acquisition and star of the Te Wheke exhibition.

This master-work of Arts and Crafts furniture making in colonial New Zealand is a fascinating artefact – paua-inlaid and richly carved in patterning based on kowhaiwhai and echoing the pātaka as architectural form, it is a curious index of Pākeha appropriation.

As Smith wrote, “Principally active from the early 1880s to c.1910, John Henry Menzies (1839–1919) was a carver in wood and stone, and an architectural designer. About eighty pieces of his furniture are extant; Rehutai, one of the three houses he designed and decorated also survives, as does his church, St Luke’s. He also produced the pattern studies for Maori Patterns Painted and Carved (1910, 1975).”