Huakina: He taonga mai i Te Papa
In a new initiative Unpacked: Treasures from Te Papa brings a selection of masterpieces from the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa to Whangarei Art Museum and Waikato Museum. Each work is on display for three months.
The first work to go on display is Louis John Steele and Kennett Watkins' explosive The Blowing Up of the Boyd (1889). This painting depicts one of the most notorious incidents in New Zealand’s colonial history. In 1809, a Ngāti Pou chief returning from Sydney on board the British ship Boyd was wrongly accused of theft and flogged. This injustice prompted his tribe to take revenge. They attacked the Boyd in Whangaroa harbour, north of Whāngārei, killing around 70 people and accidentally destroying the ship by igniting its cargo of gunpowder.
Europeans saw the incident as an unprovoked massacre, but local Māori believed that the necessary utu (revenge) had been taken. This powerful painting is an impressive work of art, but also prompts reflection upon the complex nature of early contact in New Zealand.
Other paintings that will feature over the next 12 months from Te Papa’s collection are Edward Poynter’s Asterié (1904), an enigmatic portrait made by one of the most successful Victorian artists of his day, Rita Angus’s Fay and Jane Birkinshaw (1938) (Whangarei Art Museum only), a striking work of international significance, and Rozzie at Pisa (1978) (Whangarei Art Museum only) by Grahame Sydney, a contemporary New Zealand artist whose work spans more than four decades.
Please check venue website for confirmed dates.