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Whakaahua Māori: Images of Tangata Whenua 1860–1910

By September 24, 2020News

Whakaahua Māori: Images of tangata whenua 1860–1910 is another exceptional example of a specialist online only auction. The sale gained an impressive response from the public with over one hundred bidders participating and generating a 100% sell through rate with every lot purchased.

The sale’s highest-price was achieved by a photograph of a painting of Tāmatai Wāka Nene painted by Sam Stuart. The subject, Tāmatai Wāka Nene was a Māori rangatira of the Ngāpuhi iwi who fought as an ally of the British in the Flagstaff War of 1845–46. This rare and striking portrait of the māori chief achieved a staggering $23,500 against a pre-sale estimate of $500 – $1,400.

Another highlight is lot 33, an incredible photograph of Hinemihi (the historically significant wharenui originally located in Wairoa). The image depicts the half-buried wharenui directly after the eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886. During the consequential event, many people took shelter inside Hinemihi and for some time after the eruption, Hinemihi stood abandoned in hardened mud, deserted like the rest of the valley. This image achieved a final winning bid of $2,585 against a pre-sale estimate of $400 – $600.

Since the closing of the sale, we have heard some remarkable stories of these important photographs being returned to buyers who directly whakapapa to the sitters. Furthermore a number of these significant historic records have been acquired by public institutions, safeguarding their future for generations to come.

John Perry, collector & historian spoke about the collection, saying “These photographs are just the most fabulous mirrors of a life that is long gone. Good photography is a mirror, it reflects who we are, where we have been.. it’s a window on a world that is long gone but there is still evidence of it here today.” You can see the full results of the sale here.

We are now accepting further examples of historic photography to be featured in up and coming sales. Please contact our team for more information

Tasha Jenkins
Administrator, Art
+ 64 9 529 5600
art@webbs.co.nz