Exhibition

Kā Honoka

18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016

Cross-cultural encounter in the Pacific shows whaling as central to the local story.

This selection of works explores early cross-cultural encounter in the Pacific and nineteenth-century European presence and ambition, with whaling as a central part of the local story. Spanning a period of some 180 years, this exhibition links such diverse locations as Paris, Sydney, Niue, Tonga, the Bay of Islands and Banks Peninsula, and brings the past powerfully into the present.

Related

Notes
Holiday reading

Holiday reading

Herman Melville's Moby Dick, first published on 14 November 1851, is a whale of a book...

Exhibition
Aberhart Starts Here

Aberhart Starts Here

Iconic and unseen early photographs of Christchurch by Laurence Aberhart

Exhibition
He Waka Eke Noa

He Waka Eke Noa

Colonial-era portraits represent a legacy that illuminates the present.

Exhibition
Olivia Spencer Bower: Views from the Mainland

Olivia Spencer Bower: Views from the Mainland

A selection of watercolours by one of Canterbury’s most treasured artists.

Exhibition
He Rau Maharataka Whenua: A Memory of Land

He Rau Maharataka Whenua: A Memory of Land

Canterbury modernist landscape painting from the collections of Te Puna o Waiwhetū Christchurch Art Gallery, poignantly revised from within a Kāi Tahu perspective

Artist Profile
Doris Lusk: An Inventive Eye

Doris Lusk: An Inventive Eye

In the strange, stunned afterlife that ticked slowly by in the first few years following Christchurch’s February 2011 earthquake, a curious note of recognition sounded through the shock and loss. As a massive programme of demolitions relentlessly hollowed out the city, many buildings were incompletely removed and lingered on for months as melancholy remains – stumps abandoned in a forlorn urban forest. Hideous, sculptural, beautiful; they bore compelling resemblance to a body of paintings created in the city more than three decades earlier.

Exhibition
Max Hailstone: Te Ara Takahaka Tapuae / Points of Reference

Max Hailstone: Te Ara Takahaka Tapuae / Points of Reference

An exhibition of Max Hailstone's most controversial and important series, using the signatures of the rangatira (Māori chiefs) who signed New Zealand's Treaty of Waitangi in 1840

Exhibition
Te Rua o te Moko

Te Rua o te Moko

Each of the eighteen rūnanga within Ngāi Tahu are represented here by a work of art depicting a significant land site.

Notes
Happy Birthday Akaroa Museum

Happy Birthday Akaroa Museum

Big Congratulations to Akaroa Museum on their 50th anniversary which they are celebrating this weekend.

Collection
Nouvelle-Zélande. Pirogue de L'Anse de l'Astrolabe
François-Edmond Pâris Nouvelle-Zélande. Pirogue de L'Anse de l'Astrolabe

François-Edmond Pâris was a twenty-year-old naval ensign when he joined Dumont d’Urville’s Pacific survey of 1826–29. He became involved in a comprehensive study of the ships and boats of the peoples they encountered. “We are in the most complete ignorance of the watercraft of peoples and times whose clothing, weapons and the most common objects we know in detail”, he later commented, and with his project “sought to correct this oversight”.

Two prints relating to Pâris’s New Zealand observations appeared in d’Urville’s 1833 published account, presenting a range of impressive waka seen at Tasman Bay, Tolaga Bay and Bream Bay, the largest nearly seventeen metres long. He also documented a rich variety of tau ihu (canoe prows) with their ornately carved forms.

Pâris retired from the French navy as a vice-admiral in 1871, after which time he was put in charge of the Musée national de la Marine in Paris. (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)

Collection
Nouvelle-Zélande - coffre en bois sculpté [Plate 59]
Louis Auguste de Sainson Nouvelle-Zélande - coffre en bois sculpté [Plate 59]

Louis Auguste de Sainson was the official artist aboard Captain Dumont d’Urville’s Astrolabe. He spent three months in New Zealand in 1827 on a maritime mapping survey between Tasman Bay and the Bay of Islands, followed by a month in Tonga. A substantial publication on d’Urville’s 1826–29 voyages through Asia and the Pacific was published in Paris in 1833, profusely illustrated by lithographic prints after de Sainson’s drawings.

D’Urville and his crew had close contact with people they met, including the Totaranui chief Tehinui (or Tehi-Noui) and his travelling companion Kokiore (or Koki-Hore) depicted in print 2, who were sketched by de Sainson after coming aboard at Palliser Bay (near present-day Wellington). Tehinui and Kokiore at first both intended to reach Europe, but instead disembarked at Tolaga Bay, later finding their own way home. In summarising his portrait sketching process, de Sainson later recalled: “What I was doing caused a lot of laughter; every minute they tried to escape me.” (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)

Collection
Coiffures diverses des habitans de Tonga Tabou, lle des Amis
Louis Auguste de Sainson Coiffures diverses des habitans de Tonga Tabou, lle des Amis

Louis Auguste de Sainson was the official artist aboard Captain Dumont d’Urville’s Astrolabe. He spent three months in New Zealand in 1827 on a maritime mapping survey between Tasman Bay and the Bay of Islands, followed by a month in Tonga. A substantial publication on d’Urville’s 1826–29 voyages through Asia and the Pacific was published in Paris in 1833, profusely illustrated by lithographic prints after de Sainson’s drawings.

D’Urville and his crew had close contact with people they met, including the Totaranui chief Tehinui (or Tehi-Noui) and his travelling companion Kokiore (or Koki-Hore) depicted in print 2, who were sketched by de Sainson after coming aboard at Palliser Bay (near present-day Wellington). Tehinui and Kokiore at first both intended to reach Europe, but instead disembarked at Tolaga Bay, later finding their own way home. In summarising his portrait sketching process, de Sainson later recalled: “What I was doing caused a lot of laughter; every minute they tried to escape me.” (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)

Collection
Nouvelle-Zélande
Louis Auguste de Sainson Nouvelle-Zélande

Louis Auguste de Sainson was the official artist aboard Captain Dumont d’Urville’s Astrolabe. He spent three months in New Zealand in 1827 on a maritime mapping survey between Tasman Bay and the Bay of Islands, followed by a month in Tonga. A substantial publication on d’Urville’s 1826–29 voyages through Asia and the Pacific was published in Paris in 1833, profusely illustrated by lithographic prints after de Sainson’s drawings.

D’Urville and his crew had close contact with people they met, including the Totaranui chief Tehinui (or Tehi-Noui) and his travelling companion Kokiore (or Koki-Hore) depicted in print 2, who were sketched by de Sainson after coming aboard at Palliser Bay (near present-day Wellington). Tehinui and Kokiore at first both intended to reach Europe, but instead disembarked at Tolaga Bay, later finding their own way home. In summarising his portrait sketching process, de Sainson later recalled: “What I was doing caused a lot of laughter; every minute they tried to escape me.” (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)

Article
A Tale of Two Chiefs

A Tale of Two Chiefs

If you have recently visited He Taonga Rangatira: Noble Treasures at the Gallery you will have been struck by Fiona Pardington's two large photographic portraits of lifelike busts of Ngāi tahu tipuna (ancestors).

Collection
Fiona Pardington Portrait of a life-cast of Piuraki/John Love Tikao, Aotearoa New Zealand

Labelled ‘Poukalem’, and believed to depict the leading Ngāi Tahu chief Piuraki, also known as John Love Tikao, this powerful life-cast plaster likeness was made by the Parisian phrenologist Pierre-Marie Alexandre Dumoutier at Ōtākou (Otago) in late March 1840.

The casting occurred two months before Piuraki became a signatory to the Treaty of Waitangi at Ōnuku near Akaroa on 30 May 1840. Piuraki was fluent in French and English, having lived for two years in Bordeaux, France, then for five years in London. This followed a period working with a whaling crew, where he took the name John Love. This in turn came after his release from imprisonment on Kapiti Island (near Wellington), having been captured during Te Rauparaha’s 1831 raid on Kaiapoi pā (fortified village) in North Canterbury.

Piuraki became an important advocate for Ngāi Tahu in highlighting to ensuing colonial governments the enforced land sales and broken promises that left his people effectively landless. (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)

Collection
Fiona Pardington Portrait of a life-cast of Takatahara, Aotearoa New Zealand

The explorer Dumont d’Urville made three visits to New Zealand in 1824, 1827 and 1840. He returned to France from his last Pacific survey carrying a collection of fifty-one plaster life-casts made by the on-board phrenologist and naturalist Pierre-Marie Alexandre Dumoutier of people met in locations including Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor, Tasmania and New Zealand. Dumoutier put the assembled cast likenesses on display at his personal museum in Paris.

Ngāi Tahu artist Fiona Pardington travelled to the Musée de l’Homme in Paris in 2010 to powerfully reclaim and transform the life-casts into moving portraits through her photographic art. Takatahara (or Tangatahara), one of her own relatives, was a chiefly tupuna (ancestor) of Horomaka (Banks Peninsula) and a noted defender of Ngāi Tahu during the Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha’s devastating South Island raids. (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)

Collection
Night time, Amuri Bluff
Tony Fomison Night time, Amuri Bluff

Tony Fomison’s luminous, night time view of Haumuri Bluff on the Kaikōura coast is a weighted landscape little-related to scenic appreciation. It carries a sense of time and of Fomison’s connections to this locality and its past.

In 1959, while a twenty-year-old sculpture student at the University of Canterbury, Fomison began working with the Canterbury Museum as an assistant ethnologist and archaeologist. He worked on extensive archaeological explorations of Māori settlements and early whaling sites near Kaikōura and on Banks Peninsula, and surveyed rock art sites throughout Canterbury. Haumuri, a Māori settlement site, was also the setting for a short-lived whaling station from 1844.

Something of Fomison’s motivation in painting is conveyed in his comment: “Given that the practitioner has a knowledge of our history, it can also be an opportunity to project an uncontaminated view of the past into the future.” (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)

Collection
Peter Robinson Cascade

Peter Robinson’s Cascade becomes an increasingly curious artefact within this selection of largely historical works. At the same time it strangely embodies the collective idea of kā honoka: a multitude of connections, relationships and links.

Robinson is a Ngāi Tahu artist with an enduring interest in the adaptation and lineage of ideas. His sculpturally satisfying polystyrene mass with its tumbling chains and weights sparks multiple imaginative associations. These might be immediately evident in relation to local maritime and whaling stories, but can take many directions. The ideas in the work, like Robinson’s chosen medium, may expand and reshape to find their own purpose. (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)

Collection
Le Ministère de la Marine
Charles Meryon Le Ministère de la Marine

Charles Meryon’s fantastical Parisian scene presents the French Admiralty building with a flying horde being delivered from the far ends of the globe. The crowd below is thrown into disarray as Roman charioteers, whales and whaleboats, a waka with sails, an anchor, serpents, cowboys and horses with fishtails prepare for landing.

Meryon’s impaired mental state in this period is the usual explanation given for this extraordinary etching. At the same time, it may be viewed as an image laden with personal symbolism as the confounding facts, fantasies and errors of the past make their perplexing return.

Meryon spent three years in Akaroa from 1843–46 as a young naval cadet, protecting the fledgling French settlement. Although this particular colonising plan did not succeed, the streetlamps of Paris were fed a regular supply of whale oil from Banks Peninsula in this period. For Meryon these were formative years and regularly revisited in his imagination. (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)

Collection
Nouvelle Zélande, Greniers indigènes et Habitations à Akaroa  (Presqu’île de Banks, 1845
Charles Meryon Nouvelle Zélande, Greniers indigènes et Habitations à Akaroa (Presqu’île de Banks, 1845

Described as the father of modern etching, French naval officer Charles Meryon was one of the most important artists to work in Waitaha / Canterbury during the colonial era. He served on the Rhin, stationed at Akaroa between 1843 and 1846, to look out for the French settlement there. Meryon made numerous pencil studies at Akaroa which he later used as the basis for this series of etchings completed back in Paris during the 1860s. He planned to publish these and other images of the Pacific in an album, which unfortunately he never completed. The story of the French attempt to settle Te Waipounamu / the South Island is a fascinating chapter in New Zealand’s history. A French whaling captain, Jean Langlois, purchased 30,000 acres from Kāi Tahu on Horomaka / Banks Peninsula in 1838 and returned to France to get government support to establish a French colony at Akaroa. It was from here that he hoped the French would be able to expand throughout the rest of the South Island. A company was formed and sixty- three French and German settlers set sail on the Comte de Paris. They arrived at Akaroa in August 1840 only to find a Union Jack flying at Takapūneke / Green’s Point signalling that British sovereignty had already been claimed. Today, Akaroa continues to retain something of a French flavour.

(Pickaxes and shovels, 17 February – 5 August 2018)

Collection
On Another Man’s Land
John Pule On Another Man’s Land

Taking visual direction from nineteenth-century Niuean painted hiapo (tapa cloth), John Pule's 'On Another Man’s Land' lays out composite pattern and motif into complex, segmented storylines. Cryptic symbols feature alongside more recognisable imagery such as numbers, creatures and various goods, both customary and introduced. Also pictured are an explorer’s sextant, a missionary and figures embracing, gathered, or in despair.

That this is storytelling from a Polynesian viewpoint is reinforced by Pule’s incorporation of a sketch by the Raiatean priest and navigator Tupaia, made while on board Captain Cook’s Endeavour in the Pacific in 1770. Depicting a Māori chief of Uawa (Tolaga Bay) trading with the naturalist Joseph Banks, it foretells future, often ruinous, moments of exchange.

The painting’s title refers to the Niue-born Pule's own experience of being raised in Auckland, while conceivably raising broader questions. Pule has recently returned to live in Niue. (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)

Collection
Sydney from the North Shore
Conrad Martens Sydney from the North Shore

In the 1840s Sydney was a vital centre for Pacific shipping and trade, including New Zealand-based whaling ventures, many Sydney-owned and with Māori in their international crews. Ships delivering oil and whalebone to Sydney were restocked there with fresh crew and supplies.

Conrad Martens left England in 1832 to travel the world. The following year he became artist on board the HMS Beagle with Captain Robert FitzRoy and Charles Darwin, joining the ship from Montevideo, Uruguay. He left the Beagle at Valparaíso, Chile in November 1834, and travelled to Sydney via Tahiti and the Bay of Islands, arriving in 1835.

Sydney became Martens’ permanent home. He started there profitably as a landscape painter and responded to an economic depression in the early 1840s by producing an edition of fine lithographs of Sydney from the North Shore. These were printed in London and hand-coloured by the artist in Sydney. (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)

Collection
Nouvelle Zélande, Presqu’île de Banks, 1845. Pointe dite des Charbonniers, à Akaroa, Pêche à la Seine
Charles Meryon Nouvelle Zélande, Presqu’île de Banks, 1845. Pointe dite des Charbonniers, à Akaroa, Pêche à la Seine

Described as the father of modern etching, French naval officer Charles Meryon was one of the most important artists to work in Waitaha / Canterbury during the colonial era. He served on the Rhin, stationed at Akaroa between 1843 and 1846, to look out for the French settlement there. Meryon made numerous pencil studies at Akaroa which he later used as the basis for this series of etchings completed back in Paris during the 1860s. He planned to publish these and other images of the Pacific in an album, which unfortunately he never completed. The story of the French attempt to settle Te Waipounamu / the South Island is a fascinating chapter in New Zealand’s history. A French whaling captain, Jean Langlois, purchased 30,000 acres from Kāi Tahu on Horomaka / Banks Peninsula in 1838 and returned to France to get government support to establish a French colony at Akaroa. It was from here that he hoped the French would be able to expand throughout the rest of the South Island. A company was formed and sixty- three French and German settlers set sail on the Comte de Paris. They arrived at Akaroa in August 1840 only to find a Union Jack flying at Takapūneke / Green’s Point signalling that British sovereignty had already been claimed. Today, Akaroa continues to retain something of a French flavour.

(Pickaxes and shovels, 17 February – 5 August 2018)

Collection
Nouvelle-Zélande, Presqu’île de Banks. Etat de la petite colonie Française d’Akaroa. Vers 1845 - Voyage du Rhin.
Charles Meryon Nouvelle-Zélande, Presqu’île de Banks. Etat de la petite colonie Française d’Akaroa. Vers 1845 - Voyage du Rhin.

Described as the father of modern etching, French naval officer Charles Meryon was one of the most important artists to work in Waitaha / Canterbury during the colonial era. He served on the Rhin, stationed at Akaroa between 1843 and 1846, to look out for the French settlement there. Meryon made numerous pencil studies at Akaroa which he later used as the basis for this series of etchings completed back in Paris during the 1860s. He planned to publish these and other images of the Pacific in an album, which unfortunately he never completed. The story of the French attempt to settle Te Waipounamu / the South Island is a fascinating chapter in New Zealand’s history. A French whaling captain, Jean Langlois, purchased 30,000 acres from Kāi Tahu on Horomaka / Banks Peninsula in 1838 and returned to France to get government support to establish a French colony at Akaroa. It was from here that he hoped the French would be able to expand throughout the rest of the South Island. A company was formed and sixty- three French and German settlers set sail on the Comte de Paris. They arrived at Akaroa in August 1840 only to find a Union Jack flying at Takapūneke / Green’s Point signalling that British sovereignty had already been claimed. Today, Akaroa continues to retain something of a French flavour.

(Pickaxes and shovels, 17 February – 5 August 2018)