Darby and Joan | Ina Te Papatahi Portrait 

Darby and Joan [Ina Te Papatahi, Ngapuhi] 1903, Goldie, Charles F. (1870–1947), Auckland. Purchased 1991 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board and the Minister's discretionary funds. Te Papa
Darby and Joan [Ina Te Papatahi, Ngapuhi] 1903, Goldie, Charles F. (1870–1947), Auckland. Purchased 1991 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board and the Minister's discretionary funds. Te Papa

Curriculum links

Learning areas

  • Social Studies
  • The Arts

Which strands will it fit with?

  • Social Studies: Identity, Culture, and Organisation: Continuity and Change
  • The Arts - Visual Arts 

Key competencies

Using language, symbols, and texts: students will consider how the subject and surroundings have been depicted. Students will analyse visual messages that convey the artist's view of Māori culture at that time.

Thinking: students will compare this Goldie work to the work of Robyn Kahukiwa (Ko Hineteiwaiwa, ko Hinekorako, ko Rona Whakamau Tai), and make inferences about how culture, societal attitudes, era, and gender contribute to artists' portrayal of their subject matter.

Level of achievement

levels 1-8 (Social Studies): levels 1-4 (the Arts) 

Year group

Years 1-13

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Which topics of study can it support?

  • New Zealand society past and present
  • New Zealand history
  • New Zealand art
  • Pūrākau - storytelling 

How long may this take?

Allow 5-10 minutes for discussion.

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Where do I find it?

Level 5, Toi Te Papa. If you get lost, just ask a Te Papa Host. 

Why should I take my class to visit this?

  • See a painting by one of New Zealand’s best known and most controversial artists, Charles Frederick Goldie.
  • Get an excellent introduction to some of the layers of information and attitudes that can be found in New Zealand’s art history. 

What is there to do there?

  • Be amazed at how realistic a painting can be.
  • See how art can convey a certain ideology.
  • Examine an example of the European belief that Māori were declining at the end of the nineteenth century, and that the task of the 'civilised' European was 'smoothing the pillow of the dying race’. 

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What should I know about this?

  • Goldie completed this particular painting of Ina Te Papatahi, a kuia or elder from Ngā Puhi, in 1903. In total, he painted Ina eighteen times.
  • It is painted in Goldie’s usual romanticised style. Many Pākehā in the early twentieth century believed that Māori were either going to die out or become assimilated.
  • It is named Darby and Joan after characters from a sentimental eighteenth century English ballad - the term has come to represent any elderly couple or lifelong partners. Ina is thought to be Joan, and the carved ancestral figure she is sitting next to is thought to be Darby.

Possible topics for discussion

  • Would you like this painting to be hanging in your home? Why/why not?
  • Do you think this painting is set before or after Europeans arrived in New Zealand? What clues can you find in the painting to support your argument?

In fact, this painting was done after Europeans came to New Zealand, as indicated by the subject's European style of dress.

  • What does the title Darby and Joan refer to?

'Darby and Joan' were characters from an eighteenth century English ballad and the term is often applied to elderly couples. Here, Ina Te Papatahi is Joan and the carved ancestral figure is Darby. Why do you think Goldie chose to use these names rather than the subjects' real names? 

  • Do you think this portrait is a true depiction of the social environment in the early 1900s? Why/why not?
  • Do you think the artist painted his subject in his studio or as you see her? What clues can you find in the painting to support your argument?
  • What might the subject of the painting be thinking?
  • Do you think Māori and European viewers would react differently to this painting? Why/why not?
  • Why do you think this is a controversial painting? Get students to think about the title and the way the subject has been portrayed.
  • How does this 1903 painting compare with with more recent art works depicting Māori women?

Take a look at Robyn Kahukiwa’s Ko hine te iwaiwa, ko hine korako, ko rona whakamau tai (1993) painting in the Mana Whenua exhibition next to the cloak case on Level 4.

  • If Goldie was still alive, how might he depict Māori culture today?

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Further information

Related material

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