Views from the Past:
Images of the north of New Zealand


On Waitangi Day, 6 February 2016 Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi opened to the public with the permanent exhibition Ko Waitangi Tēnei; This is Waitangi. Among the 500 taonga and images on display is the painting Hongi and Waikato (1820) attributed to John Jackson, a work that had been purchased by the Fletcher Trust for its collection in 2009.

As the result of our contacts with the Museum of Waitangi at the time of the inaugural exhibition, the idea was formed of a joint exhibition at some time in the future. The intention was to display paintings in the Fletcher Trust Collection relevant to the North. In particular, it was viewed as an opportunity to show the rarely seen lithographs made after visits by French explorers to the Bay of Islands in the 1820s. This exhibition, Tirohanga Whānui; Views of the Past is the result.

The exhibition does not pretend to be comprehensive but rather a display of images of the North assembled over many years by what is one of the few surviving corporate collections in this country. Founded in 1962, the Fletcher Trust Collection, as it has been known since 2000, is hung in the offices of Fletcher Building at Penrose, Auckland and in Government Houses in Auckland and Wellington. Paintings from the collection have been widely seen in nationally touring exhibitions and are regularly loaned to public art galleries throughout the country. The set of Duperrey lithographs was purchased by Sir James Fletcher and George Fraser in 1979.

Since then other lithographs and paintings have been added to the collection and are now on view to the public in this exhibition and accompanying catalogue. These include the very first paintings purchased by the Fletcher Collection, in 1962; four Coromandel watercolours by J.B.C Hoyte. Also here is what is certainly the first oil painting ever made in New Zealand of a New Zealand subject, William Hodges’ Dusky Bay (1773) which was purchased by the Trust in 2015.

We are grateful that the Waitangi National Trust has allowed its two watercolours by John Kinder and Alfred Sharpe to be displayed with our own paintings. The Fletcher Trust is pleased to provide this catalogue as a means of increasing viewers’ understanding and enjoyment of the exhibition. It is also a record of a significant event. The notes on the paintings have been written by Fletcher Trust Art Curator Peter Shaw with visitors to the exhibition in mind.

They bring to life events and circumstances from the past in the hope that the information contained in them can inform our view of who we are today. Our history is an ever-present reality, as concerns expressed in the work of more recent painters included in the exhibition clearly indicate.

— Angus Fletcher
Chairman, The Fletcher Trust

TARDIEU, Ambroise
(1788–1841, engraver)

Drawn by CHAZAL, Antoine (1793–1854)
Plate 40 from the atlas: Voyage around the World. Weopons, Implements and Utensils, 1826
555 x 340mm, Hand-coloured engraving

This image and the following seven were published in 1826 in Paris by Arthus Bertrand as part of the eight volume atlas Voyage autour du Monde. It records the voyage to the South Seas during the years 1822–1825 of the corvette La Coquille under the command of Louis-Isidore Duperrey (1786–1865) and his deputy Jules Dumont d’Urville.

The purpose of the voyage was not primarily one of discovery but rather to add to hydrographic, botanical and ethnographic knowledge particularly of New Guinea and the Caroline Islands. La Coquille visited the Bay of Islands, New Zealand, between 3 and 17 April 1824. On board as draughtsman was an eighteen year old unpaid civilian, Francois-Louis Le Jeune, whose sometimes awkward watercolours were later revised by Antoine Chazal.

They were then entrusted to the engraver Ambroise Tardieu, an employee of the French Government. Of the twenty eight implements assembled into an elegantly balanced composition by Chazal, only five were drawn by Le Jeune and the rest by unknown artists. It is likely that these objects were brought by Duperrey back to France where drawings were made of them.

This image shows greenstone, bone and wooden carved weopons, implements and musical instruments. There are two axes, a patu, a fork made from a bone of Korokoro, chief of Kahuwera, three mere (clubs), an oar, a feeding tube, four flutes, a comb, four fishhooks, two carved waka huia, a kumete or bowl, a bailer, a tiki, earrings and a carved stick.

TARDIEU, Ambroise
(1788–1841, engraver)

Drawn by DUPERREY, Louis Isidore (1786–1865) and CHAZAL, Antoine (1793–1854), Plate 41 from the atlas: Voyage around the World. 1. Native house 2. Tomb 3. Plan of this house 4. Idols, 1826
555 x 340mm, Hand-coloured engraving

A contemporary description of this whare by the collector of botanical specimens and ship’s surgeon, René Primevère Lesson is quite at variance with its clean and tidy appearance in Tardieu’s engraving:

“Their dwellings, instead of being spacious and airy, which would be a disadvantage in a country lashed by tempests of the southern hemisphere, are small and low, and their villages or hippahs (pa) are never situated on the plain, where they could be attacked in a surprise raid, but are always on the topmost points of steep hills and cliffs, places with difficult approaches.

These huts are lairs which can be entered only by crawling on hands and knees, and the families they shelter sleep pell-mell on the straw in a very restricted space, where the breathing of several people easily maintains the warmth necessary to prevent outside cold from entering. Inside there is no furniture, with the exception of a few finely carved chests and a few red wood vases, covered with patterns…”

Lesson also writes of a visit that he and M. de Blosseville, one of the ship’s junior officers, made to Orokaoua-ipah (Orokawa) across the bay on the peninsula opposite Kahuwera where they “…came across a carved chest, painted red and supported four feet above the ground by four posts.”

Inquiries made of a native as to its purpose only elicited the request that they leave the spot immediately since the monument covered a grave. Lesson commented that there are few such mausoleums “ …as few New Zealanders ever died of old age in the bosom of their families, what with their warlike habits and their cannibalism!”
Such descriptions reveal the opinions of an educated European man who could not help but betray his own inherent sense of cultural superiority over those he is describing. This is further exemplified by the use of the term ‘idols’ as the title of one of the images.

TARDIEU, Ambroise
(1788–1841, engraver)

Drawn by LE JEUNE, Jules Louis (fl. 1804–1851) and CHAZAL, Antoine (1793–1854), Plate 42 from the atlas: Voyage around the World. Waianiwaniwa waterfall near the village of Kerikeri, 1826
555 x 340mm, Hand-coloured aquatint

The French title Cascade de Fanafaoua barely conveys the real name of the beautiful single-drop waterfall. Waianiwaniwa translates as “waters of the rainbow”. The falls were visited on 5 April 1824 by Lesson and a party of others, probably including the artist Le Jeune, who may have depicted himself as the seated figure in the foreground. Nearby, at Kororipo pā, across the river from the Mission House at Kerikeri, lived “the famous Shongi” as Lesson and others called Hongi Hika.

It was from here that Hongi had during recent years assembled canoes and warriors before embarking on the musket raids which had made Ngāpuhi feared throughout the upper part of the North Island. The French party was greeted at Hongi’s pā with a haka whose ferocity drew forth some of Lesson’s most expressive prose:

“It was a sight to see – these ferocious islanders rolling their flashing eyes rhythmically, the eyeballs turning in the sockets so that only the whites could be seen, while their choked voices throbbed and sobbed or roared like those of tigers … Shongi smiled gently at this hymn of triumph, the notes of which he had many times heard mingled with the cries of enemies massacred at his orders and roasted by his tribesmen.”

Another in the visiting party was the aristocrat Jules-Alphonse-René Poret, Baron de Blosseville, at that time a junior officer, who wrote of the falls, “… behind the screen of water which shoots out, the rock forms a deep cavern the sombre colour of which contrasts in an extraordinary way with the whiteness of the spray. The natives claim that the lower basin cannot be sounded and they make a god of the rainbow which is often seen above the cascade.”

TARDIEU, Ambroise
(1788–1841, engraver)

Drawn by LE JEUNE, Jules Louis (fl. 1804–1851) and CHAZAL, Antoine (1793–1854), Plate 43 from the atlas: Voyage around the World. Establishment of the English Missionaries at Kerikeri, 1826
555 x 340mm, Hand-coloured aquatint

The French party stayed at Kerikeri on the night of 9 April 1824 after their visit to Rangihoua earlier in the day. At the centre of the picture is the Mission House built only two years earlier on land granted to Rev. Samuel Marsden by Hongi. Here, using logs transported by raft to Kerikeri from Kawakawa and Waikare, then made into planks by Māori sawyers, missionaries worked with Māori carpenters.

The house was first occupied in 1821 having taken two years to build. In this careful composition there is no longer any sign of the temporary buildings which had earlier been supplied to the missionaries by Hongi. Jules de Blosseville described the scene in a manner that conforms well with Le Jeune’s drawing:

“The six houses are wooden and white washed. The one where the minister and several others live is very elegantly built. They are all surrounded by an eight foot wall. A solid gate, always kept closed by a big lock, prevents the natives from getting in to steal the plants growing nearby.

The houses are also enclosed and palisaded, but the fields are unprotected by any palisade.” Having so recently been treated to Hongi’s frightening hospitality just across the river it is perhaps little wonder that security was uppermost in his mind as de Blosseville described the Church Missionary Society’s Kerikeri headquarters.

TARDIEU, Ambroise
(1788–1841, engraver)

Drawn by LE JEUNE, Jules Louis (fl. 1804–1851) and CHAZAL, Antoine (1793–1854), Plate 44 from the atlas: Voyage around the World. Inhabitants of New Zealand 1. Hongi, chief of Kerikeri 2. Touai, chief of Kahouwera 3. Brother of Touai 4. Young woman, 1826
555 x 340mm, Hand-coloured engraving

Here the artists have treated these inhabitants of a strange country in much the same way as botanical specimens might be; arranged, numbered and titled. In Le Jeune’s original the three male figures are drawn closer together, gesticulating as though in lively conversation. In the engraving only Touai (Tuai or Tuhi) gestures, somewhat stiffly. Hongi Hika visited La Coquille two days after the ship arrived in the Bay of Islands. His escort performed a haka, the first the ship’s crew had ever experienced, which thoroughly terrified them.

Lesson described in some detail how Hongi had won the approbation of the first missionaries by feigned gentleness and studied courtesy; how he was taken to England by Thomas Kendall but turned against him following the Church Missionary Society’s failure to provide him with powder and muskets: “Warlike and fierce he thirsted to extend the field of his domination and gave himself with all the energy of his savage passions to this instinct for the perpetual warfare waged among the different tribes.”

Touai, again in European dress and fluent in conversational English, was one of Hongi’s allies during some of the wars however he was described by Lesson as a mediocre warrior, not much thought of outside his own pā. His elder brother Korokoro, Hongi’s equal and rival in bravery, had died while Touai was in England. Touai only succeeded him because a second brother had been killed at Pāroa in the interim. Touai himself died only six months after La Coquille left.

The fourth brother, Te Rangi, represented here cloaked and seated was, according to Lesson, “… a rather insignificant personage who was nevertheless respected for his family background, as his ancestors had been arikis or high priests.” Apparently he rarely left La Coquille, preferring to remain on board to supervise the prostitution of enslaved women in exchange for gunpowder and axes. The unknown young woman in a woven flax cape and tagged skirt was in some versions of this engraving said to have been eighteen years old.

TARDIEU, Ambroise
(1788–1841, engraver)

Drawn by LE JEUNE, Jules Louis (fl. 1804–1851) and CHAZAL, Antoine (1793–1854), Plate 45 from the atlas: Voyage around the World. Canoe of the inhabitants of New Zealand, 1826
555 x 340mm, Hand-coloured aquatint

This was a sight that must regularly have greeted the returning French party as it came and went from Pāroa Bay where La Coquille was anchored. Behind the waka the pā Kahuwera rises up, like Rangihoua (with which it has sometimes been confused) it is sited on a steep hillside above the sea.

Le Jeune’s original watercolour was dated 10 April 1824, the day on which the party returned from Kerikeri as described by de Blosseville (see Plate 43). It was titled “Inhabitants of New Zealand with a view of their fortified stronghold or Hippah”. This was altered to the present title when Chazal tidied the watercolour.

While some details remain the same, he significantly altered the originally more lively grouping of people in the waka, removing their facial moko and simplifying the carving on the taurapa (stern post) in the process. On the left of the waka is the distinctive figure of Touai, chief of Kahuwera, identifiable by his European dress for which he clearly had a penchant (see also Plate 47) including top hat and a pipe.

Among the fifteen on board are two paddlers and a woman with a baby strapped to her back, also holding a paddle, and two others with inclined heads whose arms are identically crossed over their upper bodies, perhaps performing a waiata.

TARDIEU, Ambroise
(1788–1841, engraver)

Drawn by LE JEUNE, Jules Louis (fl. 1804–1851) and CHAZAL, Antoine (1793–1854), Plate 46 from the atlas: Voyage around the World. Inhabitants of New Zealand 1. Etinou 2. Taifanga, 1826
555 x 340mm, Hand-coloured engraving

Here Chazal has combined two of Le Jeune’s originally separate images. Etinou wears two gold coins as an earring. In the original watercolour, she is shown with scars on her shoulder and chest, probably from inflicting herself with wounds with a shell during mourning. Judging by an inscription of Le Jeune’s, Etinou appears to have been a girl known to the crew as Nanette.

This is corroborated by Lesson who wrote in his journal: “One of the young girls, called Nanette by the sailors, who was noted for her constant gaiety and vivacity, was the boldest of all and the least hesitant about plunging into the water.” Taifanga (Taiwhanga), a Ngāpuhi chief from Kaikohe, and the missionary Thomas Clarke were passengers on board La Coquille on its voyage from Port Jackson (Sydney). In Le Jeune’s original watercolour he is wearing an army great coat and there is a feather attached to the crown of his helmet. Lesson relates that when the ship first dropped anchor behind Moturua on 3 April 1824 (a location soon changed to Paroa Bay on Touai’s advice) the alarmed Taiwhanga kept on shouting ‘Danger! Shipwreck!’ at the sight of such a large vessel resting calmly in ten fathoms over a bottom of sandy silt.

La Coquille was immediately “invaded by wave upon wave of Islanders”. According to d’Urville, having been away from home for fifteen to eighteen months, Taiwhanga was overcome at the sight of his parents and friends. “I should try in vain to describe the proofs of affection and sensitiveness which this poor lad gave on this occasion.

For more than an hour his heart was bursting with emotion and tears of tenderness flowed from his eyes.” In January 1838 the missionary Rev. R. Wade stayed a night at Taifanga’s home. By that time this former warrior alongside Hongi (Wade refers to him as being “among the foremost of the bloodthirsty”) had been baptized, taking the name of Rawiri, or David, and was a consistent Christian.

TARDIEU, Ambroise
(1788–1841, engraver)

Drawn by LE JEUNE, Jules Louis (fl. 1804–1851) and CHAZAL, Antoine (1793–1854), Plate 47 from the atlas: Voyage around the World. New Zealand chiefs 1. Touai 2. Another chief, 1826
555 x 340mm, Hand-coloured engraving

Chazal has combined two distinct images chosen from Le Jeune’s original drawings. The subjects are Touai, chief of Kahuwera, and another unnamed chief. Lesson’s account described Touai in detail: Before long a native in European dress came on board. He spoke English having spent some time in England where he and the chief Terri (Titere) had been taken by the brig Kangaroo, and he introduced himself to us.

Toui, brother of the famous Korokoro, whom he had succeeded as chief of Kaouera i-pah (Kahouwera) was the bearer of numerous English and American certificates which testified to the service he had rendered to various navigators, and from that moment on he was everybody’s pet … he persuaded us to shift anchorage and to go closer to his fortified village or i-pah.

He was a man of medium build, about thirty years old, with an elegantly tattooed face; his manners were common and very stiff in the European dress he wore when with us.” In 1818–19 through the auspices of the missionary Thomas Kendall the young chiefs Touai and Titere, preceding Hongi and Waikato by two years, had travelled to visit the linguist Professor Samuel Lee at Cambridge University where they assisted him in the preparation of his work on Māori vocabulary and grammar.

D’Urville, writing his own account published in 1831 of the 1826–29 voyage of L’Astrolabe, had this to say of Touai: “Although Touai had taken much greater pains than Shongui (Hongi) to imitate the manners and the general appearance of Europeans, at bottom he had not benefited any more from his trip to England, so far as principles were concerned. He was just as addicted as any of his compatriots to the tastes, customs and superstitions of his land.

Only being more skilful, more ingratiating and more determined to pay court to Europeans, Touai took the greatest care to disguise his conduct and feelings under the outward signs of civilization, and this savage had all the sagacity characteristic of a professional courtier. Thus throughout our stay in Paroa Bay we had nothing but praise for his behaviour and even for his acts of kindness. Always guided by his one motive, he hoped to obtain from us a lot of powder and muskets.”

MAURIN, Antoine (1793–1860, lithographer)

DE SAINSON, Louis-Auguste (1800–1887, artist) Plate 63 from: Voyage of the corvette L’Astrolabe during the years 1826–29. J. Tastu, editor, Paris 1833. Natai, One of the Chiefs of Bream Bay 1833
471 x 339mm, Lithograph

Little is known of the chief Natai other than the fact that he came on board L’Astrolabe with the chief Rangui (Rangi-tuke). D’Urville wrote of this meeting near Whāngarei Heads that “… one of his lieutenants, named Natai, decorated with regular tattooage, attracted our attention. The facile pencil of M. de Sainson has reproduced with fidelity the features and moko of this New Zealand warrior.”

This striking portrait in profile shows that the lithographer has indeed taken some pains to reproduce de Sainson’s version of the subject’s moko.

However the pronounced aquilinity of the nose and treatment of the mouth indicate an artistic attempt to Europeanise the face. The hair in short curls, accords more with Parisian fashion of the time for wig-less, Graeco-Roman hairstyles rather than the long, tied method adopted by most Māori males.

Of Natai’s companion Rangui (Rangi-tuke), d’Urville wrote that “… although he concealed part of the truth, I suspected very quickly that he was at this time engaged in some military expedition against the people of Shouraki (Hauraki) Bay.” D’Urville was right.

Rangi-tuke and Natai were probably part of some kind of advance guard leading up to a more significant attack in the future. In June 1828, on his second attempt to obtain utu for the death of Pōmare two years earlier at Te Rore, near Pirongia, Rangi-tuke was fatally speared in the eye in a clash with Ngāti Tipa at the mouth of the Tamaki River. Most of his taua (war party) died with him.

ST AULAIRE, A. (1801–1844, lithographer)

DE SAINSON, Louis-Auguste (1800–1887, artist) Plate 49 from: Voyage of the corvette L’Astrolabe during the years 1826–29. J. Tastu, editor, Paris 1833. View of Cape Whangarei (Whangarei Heads), New Zealand.  1833
206 x 342mm, Lithograph

On 21 February 1827 L’Astrolabe was driven north by a black squall from the area between Aotea (Great Barrier Island) and Hauturu (Little Barrier Island). Here d’Urville’s intention had been to correct Cook’s charting work which “… was again found to be unexact, and a new exploration became indispensable.” The storm-driven current drove the ship so far that eventually the broken summits of Te Whara (Bream Head) and Tawiti Rahi (Poor Knights Islands) could be seen. It was hoped that the breeze would lead them to a sheltered anchorage at Whāngarei but at 4.30pm it fell leaving the ship becalmed at the east end of Taranga (Hen Island).

As d’Urville wrote, “… on its desert shores nothing but the monotonous sound of the breakers and the fearful cry of the sea-birds was heard.” On the morning of 22nd heavy seas again threatened so shelter was urgently sought at the head of ‘Wangari Bay’ under Te Whara but this too proved impossible. Now the ship was obliged to anchor at the mouth of the bay in a place little sheltered from the rain, wind and heavy sea.

“Nevertheless, it was not long before we distinguished a long war-canoe coming from the head of the bay, and approaching us, urged by all the vigour of those on board, for they managed their craft with extreme ability. One of those on board was dressed in English garments.

I at first took him for some deserter among the Natives, the more so as he accosted the corvette without hesitation, mounted on board, and asked for the rangatira rahi (principal chief) and advanced towards me with a deliberate air. It was not until I heard him speak and examined his partly tattooed face nearer that I discovered he was in reality a Native.” This was Rangui (Rangi-tuke), son of Te Koki, principal chief of Paihia, who d’Urville had visited four years earlier on Duperrey’s voyage. He can be clearly seen in top hat and suit sitting second from the right in the waka. Perhaps this lithograph recalls the incident, re-siting it in the process and significantly improving the weather conditions.

ST AULAIRE, A. (1801–1844, lithographer)

DE SAINSON, Louis-Auguste (1800–1887, artist) Plate 44 from: Voyage of the corvette L’Astrolabe during the years 1826–29. J. Tastu, editor, Paris 1833. The corvette L’Astrolabe falling suddenly on reefs in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
325 x 495mm, Lithograph

This lithograph records a popular subject of the time – that of a small sailing ship at the mercy of tempestuous seas. Negotiating these threatening conditions called on all the skills of the crew as many diaries confirm. The history of the corvette L’Astrolabe is complex. First launched at Toulon in 1811 as Ecurie she was a horse transport vessel of 380 tons.

In 1813 she was transformed for the transportation of men and ammunition and renamed La Coquille. After further refurbishment for survey voyages she sailed in August 1822 under Duperrey on her first extensive voyage to the South Seas, returning in 1825. In March 1826 La Coquille, now renamed L’Astrolabe, left Toulon under the command of Dumont d’Urville on a voyage that was to end in 1829.

The name was chosen by d’Urville himself in commemoration of an earlier L’Astrolabe that had carried the explorer La Pérouse (1741–1788) on his 1785 voyage. That voyage had ended with the disappearance of the ship and all on board somewhere in the Pacific.

Accounts of L’Astrolabe’s 1826–29 voyage under d’Urville describe how the ship rode out tempestuous storms, ran aground six times and avoided sinking only by a miracle. In 1828, on the way back from the South Seas, d’Urville was able to ascertain that the first L’Astrolabe had been wrecked at Vanikoro, Santa Cruz, north of the New Hebrides Islands in 1788. He and his crew erected a monument to the memory of the lost sailors. On d’Urville’s third and final voyage to the Pacific L’Astrolabe was accompanied by the Zélée under Charles Jacquinot. This dangerous voyage lasted from 1837 to 1840 and on his return d’Urville was promoted to Rear-Admiral.

DEROY, Isador-Laurent (1797–1886, lithographer)

DE SAINSON, Louis-Auguste (1800–1887, artist) Plate 50 from: Voyage of the corvette L’Astrolabe during the years 1826–29. J. Tastu, editor, Paris 1833. View of the Bay of Islands
201 x 318mm, Lithograph

This extensive view of Manawaora Bay looks down from a hill at the southern end of the bay, along the foreshore and out towards the sea. It shows L’Astrolabe anchored out in the bay and a small schooner at the water’s edge. Signs of European visitors include washing hanging on a clothes-line, several Europeans moving barrels down the path and some raupō dwellings at the base of the hill in the foreground.

It was near here, in May 1772 that Marion du Fresne’s men had set up a masting camp where his men led what Captain du Clesmeur described as “… the gentlest and happiest life one could hope for among savage peoples.” On the other side of the bay, at Te Hue, Marion meet his death, his men having violated a tapu by drawing their nets and eating fish where Māori had earlier drowned.

TIRPENNE, Jean-Louis (1801–1878)

Figures by ADAM, Victor 1801–1867 (lithographer), DE SAINSON, Louis-Auguste (1800–1887, artist), Plate 62 from: Voyage of the corvette L’Astrolabe during the years 1826–29. J. Tastu, editor, Paris 1833, View of the Bay of Islands
176 x 301mm, Lithograph

This beautifully composed image was probably drawn from the eastern end of the sandy beach at Pāroa Bay, looking north towards Rangihoua. L’Astrolabe is anchored in the wide channel between Paihia and Kororāreka (Russell). On the right two Māori women are collecting firewood.

On entering the Bay of Islands d’Urville was surprised not to be met by waka, Duperrey’s expedition having been so welcomed on a previous visit three years before. He soon realised that he had entered the Bay of Islands at the very time that Ngāpuhi invasions of the Hauraki Gulf were gathering momentum. Those men who might normally have rowed out to greet a visiting ship were now warriors in taua (war parties).

However, the beauty of the Bay of Islands made an strong impression on d’Urville: “I gazed admiringly at the superb view of the whole bay, with its ramifications and the many islands which caused Cook to give it its name. As I reflected on the advantages this marvellous harbour can offer to ships, I could not help thinking of the importance it will assume some day when New South Wales has become a powerful state.”

ARAGO, Jacques (1801–1878, lithographer)

DE SAINSON, Louis-Auguste (1800–1887, artist), Plate 56 from: Voyage of the corvette L’Astrolabe during the years 1826–29. J. Tastu, editor, Paris 1833, Establishment of the Missionaries
313 x 494, Lithograph

Pahia was founded as a Missionary settlement only four years before de Sainson drew it on 12 March 1827.

Seen from a high viewpoint in the foreground looking north along the beach, the well-ordered settlement of Paihia is dominated by the Church Missonary Society’s compound which was established in 1823 by Rev. Henry Williams. It was the third such missionary establishment after Rangihoua (1815) and Kerikeri (1819) and was regarded as “heaven” in contrast to the whaling establishment across the water at Kororāreka, described by Polack as “the hell-hole of the Pacific”. It contrasted sharply with Kerikeri too, where the missionaries had been filled with alarm at the cannibal feasts of Hongi and his warriors.

In this version of the original image three settlers, two well-dressed gentlemen and a child, are shown with their backs to the view. One of them is holding a folder of papers – could he be de Sainson who depicted himself in this way more than once. (In another version two Māori are shown in conversation while a pākehā looks on.)

On the beach, a masted dinghy is being pulled ashore, two men are fixing ties to a gun carriage; at the far end of the beach, a little out to sea and obviously being blown by a healthy breeze, a two-masted sailing boat is coming into shore.

Māori dwellings are indicated behind a fence close to the shore. Above the missionaries’ compound a flag flies. In the watercolour on which this lithograph is based, the markings of the Union Flag are clearly visible on the flagstaff. This is perhaps noteworthy given the French interest at the time in colonising New Zealand.


Figures by ADAM, Victor 1801–1867 (lithographer), DE SAINSON, Louis-Auguste (1800–1887, artist), Plate 62 from: Voyage of the corvette L’Astrolabe during the years 1826–29. Tastu, editor, Paris 1833, View of Kahuwera
325 x 495mm, Lithograph

Having climbed up from the sandy bay below, crew members of L’Astrolabe are collecting cabbages while de Sainson with his block of drawing paper and another look on. Behind them the fortified pā of Kahuwera rises up, its palisades and the rooflines of whare visible though it had been long abandoned. Behind its steep site the islands of Moturoa and Motuarohia stretch out across the Bay of Islands. An enemy’s seaward approach to Kahuwera would have been difficult if not impossible.

In 1937 the historian Leslie Kelly visited the area trying to locate the precise viewpoints shown in these lithographs. He described how “…the headland of Kahuwera was conspicuous by high cliffs approaching 200 feet in height and which, even from a distance, could be observed to have been cut into a series of short terraces resembling gigantic steps down the steep side…”

HOSTEIN, E. and ADAM, Victor (lithographers)

DE SAINSON, Louis-Auguste (1800–1887, artist), Plate 55 from: Voyage of the corvette L’Astrolabe during the years 1826–29. Tastu, editor, Paris 1833, Former country house of Korokoro, near Kahuwera
327 x 419mm, Lithograph

This lithograph shows Pāroa Bay viewed from a point above the sandy beach where L’Astrolabe is anchored. The hill on which Kahuwera pā was formerly located rises up behind the large fern to the left. Three Māori standing in the foreground are expressing alarm at the sight of the party of seven Europeans pulling their boat ashore. Behind the Māori group, the houses (the ‘ancienne maison de campagne’ of the French title) can be seen.

In 1937 when Leslie Kelly was attempting to locate various positions in the Pāroa Bay area, he and his party landed on the sandy beach “. . . in probably the same place where so many early whalers and others of their time landed in search of amusements supplied by the inhabitants of old-time Kahuwera.” Local Māori told Kelly that three pā formerly stood on the eastern headland of Pāroa Bay.

They were Kahuwera, Tarawa-tangata and Pāroa, all fortifications of Ngāre Raumati. Kelly wrote that “. . . during the conquest of the Ngare Raumati many of their fortified positions were attacked and captured and the inhabitants killed and eaten, until they were completely overcome. I have been unable to discover any evidence that Nga-puhi built any pa when they occupied the district. They seem to have contented themselves with building settlements …

After the original people of Kahuwera had been defeated and their land occupied by Korokoro, the latter appears to have constructed a village for himself just below the old pa of his enemies and in a more handy position to the beach.”

That is exactly how it appears in this lithograph. Korokoro, chief of Kahuwera, was said to have been the equal of Hongi as a military leader. In July 1814 he had accompanied Hongi, Ruatara and various family members to Sydney. Here they met Samuel Marsden, acquired tools and weapons and increased their knowledge of agricultural techniques.

Korokoro died in 1823 after coming back from an expedition to Hauraki with his brother Touai, who succeeded him. In 1825, following Touai’s death of illness and misery in October 1824, joint Ngāpuhi and Ngāi Tawake forces again fell on Kahouwera ravaging and dispersing its inhabitants. The pā was in a dilapidated state by the time of d’Urville’s arrival the following year.

DE SAINSON, Louis-Auguste (1800–1887, artist and lithographer)

LANGLUMÉ, Pierre (lithographer), Plate 65 from: Voyage of the corvette L’Astrolabe during the years 1826–29. Tastu, editor, Paris 1833, Hut in Tolaga Bay; House of a chief of the Bay of Islands; House of the chief Pomare, Bay of Islands
326 x 494mm, Lithograph

De Sainson has gone to considerable pains to provide an accurate picture of the appearance of these three whare. The first is an uncarved, wooden-framed structure covered with raupō. As usual, it has only a door and a single window within the deep porch. The second, more elaborate whare has carved bargeboards (maihi) and features window hoods while Pōmare’s house is a whare whakairo (carved house) befitting his chiefly rank.

Not only are its window and door frames carved but there is also a tekoteko (carved human figure) at the apex of the bargeboards. Many descriptions of buildings occur in the writings of French visitors to the Bay of Islands. Some, reflecting dismay at the difference between European and Māori domestic life, concentrate on dirt, smell and lack of ventilation.

Lieutenant de Blois de la Calande, a young French aristocrat as his name indicates, described whare as “… hovels unbearable for the European.” Others, like de Sainson, both artist and lithographer in this case, offer a more objective picture. Angela Ballara has written that of all the Bay of Islands chiefs the Ngāpuhi chief Pōmare was the most useful to the early missionaries.

After Hongi he was also the most feared. A trader, he armed his people with muskets purchased with surplus crops successfully grown after he had encouraged the use of iron farming tools. Pōmare was the chief at Matauwhi, situated in a cove a little to the south of Kororāreka. Perhaps this is a drawing of his house there. In 1826 he was killed far from home, at Te Rore on the Waipa River, after his party was surrounded by Waikato and Ngāti Maru warriors seeking utu for earlier Ngāpuhi attacks.


Figures by ADAM, Victor 1801–1867 (lithographer), DE SAINSON, Louis-Auguste (1800–1887, artist), Plate 39 from: Voyage of the corvette L’Astrolabe during the years 1826–29. Tastu, editor, Paris 1833, Watering Place in Astrolabe Cove
360 x 549mm, Lithograph

This lithograph records a happy domestic scene at a watering place in Tasman Bay where the crew of L’Astrolabe were able to wash their clothes. Looking much the same today as in the lithograph, the place still bears the name Watering Cove. D’Urville’s account describes a “… stream of the clearest water which snakes across the sand flowing into the sea”, noting that at high tide the ship’s rowboat was able easily to meet all the ship’s fresh water needs. Men sit and stand by the stream’s edge doing their washing, a shirt hangs from a tree branch while to the right a sailor reclines nonchalantly with legs crossed, in relaxed conversation with another.

It is interesting to note that the figure drawing for this lithograph, as for others, is the work of Victor Adam while the landscape elements were done by Milbert and Bès. The search for fresh water was an ever-present concern for seamen. D’Urville found that in New Zealand creeks near the shore were invariably salty and therefore unsuitable for drinking or washing. As well, fresh water streams were often too small to be useful. This he attributed to the irregularity of the soil, the height of the mountains but above all “… to the little width of the islands of which that land is composed, which does not permit the watercourses to attain any considerable volume before pouring out into the sea.”

EARLE, Augustus (1793–1838)

Village of Parkuni, River Hokianga 1838
228 x 398mm, Hand-coloured lithograph

Here, at Pakanae, two Europeans, one in top hat and waistcoat, the other more informally dressed, are conducting some kind of negotiation involving a ribbon with two Māori women, one of whom is bare breasted. They are observed by a seated Māori figure wrapped in a blanket which he has drawn up to his face – in dismay? Is this work the record of some sexual bargain or, more innocently, a marriage proposal or a simple commercial transaction?

This lithograph is Plate 4 of a series of 10 from Sketches illustrative of the Native inhabitants and Islands of New Zealand published in London in 1838 under the auspices of the New Zealand Association by Robert Martin & Co. Such collections had a ready sale either to those with a then fashionable taste for representation of encounters between Europeans and ‘savages’ or those impelled by the colonizing urge.

Earle was a keen observer of such phenomena though in this case the lithograph shows a domestic scene which belies his own written descriptions. Earle was an itinerant artist who traveled widely after 1815, reaching Brazil by 1820.

He worked in Rio de Janeiro for a period and in 1824, voyaging to Calcutta, spent eight months on Tristan da Cunha, having been abandoned there. He was eventually rescued by a ship bound for Tasmania and found his way to Sydney where he lived for two years. In October 1827 he sailed to New Zealand, where he spent eight months in the area between Hokianga and the Bay of Islands. Openly living with Māori, he incurred the displeasure of missionaries, in turn criticizing them for their prudish imposition of Western clothing on a people he admired for their “… natural elegance and ease of manner. ”

In 1831 Earle joined the Beagle, also carrying the young Charles Darwin, on its voyage to chart the South American coastline. He became ill at Montevideo and was forced to leave the ship in August 1832. In the same year, he published the still highly readable A narrative of a nine month’s residence in New Zealand in 1827.

SHARPE, Alfred

Entrance to the Stalactite Caverns at Waiomio, Bay of Islands 1882,
645 x 454mm, Watercolour, Waitangi National Trust Collection

Sharpe was a frequent visitor to the North. Upon arriving in New Zealand in 1859 he took up land at Mata Creek, Mangapai, south of Whāngarei where he remained for six years before moving to Auckland. During the 1870s he worked there as an architectural draughtsman and teacher while also finding time to produce and exhibit large-scale watercolours in New Zealand and Australia.

His vividly painted landscapes were made in areas within relatively easy reach of Auckland – the Bay of Islands, Coromandel peninsula and into the Waikato. Roger Blackley has written that Sharpe probably produced up to 150 paintings of New Zealand subjects, of which less than one hundred survive. In 1887 he moved to Newcastle, Australia.

The caves at Waiomio, also known as the Kawiti Caves after the chief Te Ruki Kawiti of Ngāti Hine on whose land they were situated, are close to Kawakawa and to Ruapekapeka. Here in 1846 the last battle in the Northern Wars was fought between British forces and allied northern tribes under Kawiti and Hone Heke. Kawiti himself had designed the complex fortifications that withstood several weeks of siege and intense bombardment by the British under Colonel Despard.

After the battle the Māori dead were carried back to Waiomio by Kawiti’s surviving warriors. Sharpe’s own notes “… by an artist and tourist ‘off the beaten track’” record that the caves were full of human bones and skulls and were therefore unable to be entered by any white man without permission and a guide. Sharpe described how earlier vandalism by Pākehā had resulted in bones being thrown into the stream or left scattered on its banks. He was obviously enormously impressed by his visit, commenting that “… the roofs are thickly studded with glow worms as to resemble the starry vault of night when you gave upward into the darkness.”

The artist has carefully painted the pendant stalactites at the entrance to the cave in his usual detailed manner. A torchbearer with a staff walks intrepidly into the interior gloom while another visitor prefers the role of seated spectator.

HIMELY, Sigismond (1801–1872 engraver) & PÂRIS, François-Edmond (1806–1893, artist)

From the album: Voyage around the World of the corvette La Favorite during the years 1830–1832, published under the direction of M. de Sainson by Arthus Bertrand, Paris 1835, La Favorite crossing the pass of Kororareka
220 x 314mm, Aquatint

The title and appearance of this work suggest that there is a bar or difficult sea passage to negotiate at the entrance to the Bay of Islands, near Kororāreka (Russell). It is likely that the artist, aware of the fashion for nautical scenes featuring small ships battling heavy seas, used some license in enlivening the scene.

La Favorite, commanded by Cyrille-Pierre-Theodore Laplace, arrived in the Bay of Islands on 2 October 1831 and left again on 11th. On board was the artist François-Edmond Pâris, who was later to have a distinguished naval career, eventually achieving the rank of Admiral. The purpose of La Favorite’s extensive journey was to investigate commercial prospects for French traders, particularly in Indo-China.

The ship left Toulon on 30 December 1829 with a crew of 177 onboard, sailed around the Cape of Good Hope to India, to various South East Asian ports, the Dutch East Indies and then to Hobart. The crew was plagued with dysentery which Laplace attributed to a decrease in wine rations.

Although the short visit to the Bay of Islands was designed to rest the crew before the long voyage back, some survey work was carried out in the Kawakawa River area. Sailing via Valparaiso and Rio de Janiero La Favorite finally anchored in Toulon harbour on 21 April 1832. Such were the sensitivities of the time that reports of the French survey work caused a flurry when reported in Sydney, causing the British Government to seek clarification from the French as to its intentions. On the 5th of October, while La Favorite was still in the Bay, thirteen local chiefs with missionary assistance, petitioned King William IV to protect their land from further encroaches of this kind.

Laplace had been surprised to find how clearly unwelcome by Māori he and his men were. He came to the conclusion that a rumour had been spread that he had come to take possession of the Bay of Islands and to avenge the death of Marion du Fresne.

In this image, Māori are clearly represented according to the prevailing stereotype of Rousseau’s Noble Savage despite the fact that it was already being questioned in missionary literature. The mountain, obviously Taranaki or Mount Egmont as it was known at the time to Pākehā, was wrongly described as Mount Edgecombe. This is a somewhat fanciful image of an historical event.

In 1841 the Rev. John Waterhouse, General Superintendent of the Methodist South Sea Mission, arrived from Māngungu, Hokianga on the beach at New Plymouth, Taranaki, with the missionary Rev. Charles Creed and Mrs Creed. Also with them was a Māori teacher, John Leigh Tutu who had converted to Christianity a decade earlier. Some years after, in January 1845, the Missionary Society’s Journal published a woodcut based on this print of Baxter’s with the intention of persuading intending missionaries of the enthusiastic reception they could expect from ‘the New Zealanders’.

The Journal reports Eliza Creed’s arrival assisted by “… seven native females in a transport of joy, anxiously carrying Mrs Creed with the greatest care to the shore.” The propagandistic intention of this triumphal scene of disembarkation is clear. Subsequent events were less glorious. After the arrival of 148 settlers on the William Bryan the following year, Creed found himself in an invidious position.

It had quickly became apparent to the new immigrants that lands they had been promised by the New Zealand Company in London had never in fact been purchased from Te Ati Awa. In 1843, having lost all credibility with both Māori and Pākehā, Rev. Creed was told to give up his mission house or have it burned to the ground. In the same year he was accused of adultery with a Māori woman and banished to Dunedin.

HIMELY, Sigismond (1801–1872 engraver) & LAUVERGNE, Barthélemy (artist)

From the album: Voyage around the World of the corvette La Favorite during the years 1830–1832, published under the direction of M. de Sainson by Arthus Bertrand, Paris 1835, Beach at Kororareka
220 x 318mm, Aquatint

Although his name appears on the lithograph and some coastal profiles were drawn by Lauvergne as La Favorite sailed down from North Cape to the Bay of Islands, no original drawing for this image has ever been found. Lauvergne had already visited New Zealand on board L’Astrolabe under d’Urville. He recorded pleasant exchanges between Māori and Europeans; the group on the far left are almost affectionately engaged; French sailors are helping Māori pull in a net; animated conversations are taking place in the middle right. Other contacts made between La Favorite’s crew and Māori included meetings with the chiefs Pōmare and Rewa and also with a “female cohort” which invaded the ship one night, an event to which Captain Laplace turned a blind eye.

He did not, however, when he and his crew witnessed savage scenes involving cannibalism having come upon a war party returning from the South. In a clear reference to current French philosophical notions of the Noble Savage inspired by Rousseau, Laplace wrote: “I would like to know what one of these philosophers who consider man in his wild state to be a model of innocence and goodness would have said if he had been present at this spectacle.”


Waitangi, Mr Busby’s
1864, 357 x 254mm, Watercolour,
Waitangi National Trust Collection

This painting appears to be a watercolour sketch for a more finished treatment of the subject probably made after the artist had returned to Auckland from the Bay of Islands. Both are dated 1864 and are almost identical except that the later work, now in the Auckland Art Gallery, is titled Busby’s Victoria. The group by the shore is probably part of a seasonal fishing party as Māori asserted their right of access to the land long after Busby had purchased it in 1834.

In the second painting Kinder added a group of settled sheep in the foreground and to the right a long jetty stretching into the harbour. As was his frequent custom, Kinder took a photograph from the same vantage point. This he titled Waitangi Creek from Mr Busby’s, Bay of Islands. Its composition is exactly that of the two paintings, though in painting them the artist has tidied the rather unkempt foliage.

Besides sketching and photographing while he was there, Kinder also made several paintings in the Waimate North area including the volcanic cones Pukenui and Pukekauri and Waitangi Falls. At Paihia he painted views showing the Mission Station and the chapels both old and new.

An unfinished sketch shows the view toward Paihia from Waitangi. There is also an intriguing photograph from Rangihoua looking down to the site of Oihi Mission Station however this does not appear to have been made into a painting. It is interesting that as late as 1864, a Kinder title should still mention the town of Victoria. Busby had renamed Waitangi envisaging it as the future capital of New Zealand. By this time his dream would have been a fading memory, though perhaps still not in the mind of its creator.

Although in 1840 Busby had drawn up a town plan for Victoria and offered lots for sale to settlers, his scheme did not take off, despite 39 sections being sold. After Governor Hobson moved the capital from Okiato (near Russell) to Auckland in 1841 and issued proclamations that all land purchased by Europeans from Māori before 1840 would be subject to investigation, commercial risk and uncertainty of title doomed Busby’s scheme. However, even as late as 1848, on the evidence of another, even larger street layout, he was still refining plans for his town.

Gold was first discovered at Coromandel in 1852. It was found in quartz reef rather than alluvial deposits so it was not until the mid-1860s that the expensive crushing equipment required for its extraction was available. Arrivals were usually from Auckland by steamer, however Hoyte made a watercolour showing two miners with pick axes being deposited on a Coromandel beach from a Māori canoe. Could the lone figure on the cleared bush track also be a miner? These four Coromandel subjects were painted five years after the artist arrived in Auckland where he was to live for sixteen years.

Perhaps they were among those shown in Auckland by the artist in 1866 when he exhibited scenes from Whangarei, Coromandel, Auckland, the Waikato and Wellington regions and Nelson. It is unlikely that the painting of the Tauranga Hotel or its companion of the Commercial Hotel with the Police Station in front deserve the criticism that Hoyte often subordinated topographical accuracy to picturesque effects of light and atmosphere.

Their location can be precisely pinpointed today. Neither, in the two bush landscapes, does he shy away from depicting the effects of tree felling. The NZ Herald’s Coromandel correspondent wrote on 20 July 1865 of the “utter discomfiture” of the police as the result of a defective stove which filled their premises with smoke and their consequent gratitude to the proprietor of the Tauranga Hotel for the occasional kettle of hot water. Hoyte, always an indefatigable traveller in search of subject matter, moved to the South Island in 1876, living first in Nelson then in Dunedin. In 1877 he made a cruise circumnavigating the South Island. After moving to Sydney in 1879 he continued to paint New Zealand scenes, working up finished paintings from sketches.

The Fletcher Trust Collection is one of the largest curated private collections of Aotearoa New Zealand art. The Trust makes works available to the public online as well as via exhibitions initiated by public art institutions and by the Trust itself.

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