skip to content

Royal Commonwealth Society : A native feast at Moto-ta, Mount Edgecumbe in the distance and Throwing the spear, the mode of salutation

Angas, George French (1822-1886)

Royal Commonwealth Society

<p style='text-align: justify;'>George French Angas (1822-1886) had trained as an artist and developed an interest in natural history. Angas’s father held significant financial assets in South Australia and while visiting it in 1844, he sailed to New Zealand, and travelled within the recently established colony. Angas met a number of leading Maori, who sat for portraits, and he completed many pencil drawings and watercolours of Maori dress, artefacts, dwellings and culture. In 1847 he published ‘The New Zealanders illustrated’, which contained hand-coloured lithographic plates, the majority from his own work. The volume is an significant early source for understanding traditional Maori way of life.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>’ On all great occasions, it is customary with the New Zealanders to hold feasts, many of which are on a large scale, and continue for days and even weeks together. At such periods as these, the neighbouring tribes are invited to join in the general festivity, and the war dance is performed at intervals during the feast. The quantity of food that is wasted at these meetings (which are called hui), is almost incredible; and the consequence frequently is that the unlimited profusion of the feast is followed by a season of scarcity amongst those tribes by whom the entertainment is given. The provisions usually consist of dried shark and pigs, with enormous baskets of potatoes and kumeras; these latter are planted in large quantities in anticipation of the hui, and at the time of my visit to the celebrated Te Wero-wero, about one thousand of his people were engaged in planting kumeras in the grounds at Whata-whata, preparatory to a great feast which that chief intended to give to all the Waikato tribes in the ensuing summer. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>When a party of visitors arrives at a Pah belonging to another tribe, it is mind to receive them with some show of ceremony; the salutation is commenced by a spear being thrown by one of the chiefs; the visitors then sit down, and after some time has been passed in silence, they exchange civilities by the performance of ongi or pressing noses; this frequently occupies a considerable time, and when it is concluded, feasting immediately commences.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'> The scene represented is not far from Maungataritari, beyond Waipa; on the right is a portion of the fencing of a Pah, before which the inhabitants are drawn up in a body to receive their visitors; a space being cleared between the two parties, for the throwing of the spear.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>The elevated house in the centre of the sketch is a very lofty patuka, or storehouse for seeds, erected outside the Pah, the access to which is by the notched steps cut in the pole upon which it stands.’</p>

Want to know more?

Under the 'More' menu you can find , and information about sharing this image.

No Contents List Available
No Metadata Available


If you want to share this page with others you can send them a link to this individual page:
Alternatively please share this page on social media

You can also embed the viewer into your own website or blog using the code below: