KINDER, John;

Te Rapa, Lake Taupō, December 28, 1861: The Scene of Te Heuheu's Death, 1846

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c.1886
Watercolour on paper
210 x 295mm

Twenty-eighth watercolour from Ferrier-Watson album. On long-term loan to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (L2003/8/24). See Michael Dunn, Lakes and Shores and Mountain Crags: The Ferrier-Watson Album of Watercolours by John Kinder (Auckland: Kinder House Society, 2007).

 

The following text was written for Te Huringa/Turning Points.

 

Jo Diamond

Kinder’s watercolour of Te Rapa is typical of his well-ordered painting style, resonating with his formal artistic education in England. Like many other paintings by this prolific artist, it is also a frozen account of one of many landscape scenes he beheld during his long life in Aotearoa. These scenes are predominantly rural and often devoid of human figures. This painting is no exception with hilly smoothed-off terrain dominating its composition. An incidental waka floats on a placid lake surface. However, it is the painting’s title that indicates another facet of Kinder’s life: his knowledge of and interest in Māori people.

This painting’s title, referring to a highly esteemed tupuna of Ngāti Tūwharetoa, could also point to Kinder’s own religiosity. With its posthumous (by some 15 years) reference to the death of the Tūwharetoa rangatira, Te Heuheu Tūkino II, Mananui, in Māori eyes this painting’s title pays homage, whether the artist intended so or not, to the mana of a man, his people, and the land that sustained them. Te Heuheu’s mana, imprinted into the whenua, thus prevails beyond his death, thanks in part to this painting. Kinder provides a hint of the landslide that brought Te Heuheu’s death so swiftly: the central hill appears paler and newer than the others. The painting does not limit its subject to that tragedy alone; in broader terms it points to the long history of the Ngāti Tūwharetoa rohe in the Taupō region.

Exhibition History

Te Huringa/Turning Points: Pākehā Colonisation and Māori Empowerment, Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua, Whanganui, 8 April to 16 July 2006 (toured)

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