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Royal Commonwealth Society : Canoe heads, paddles, &c.

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 a significant early source for understanding traditional Maori way of life.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>1. Carved image of Rauparaha, in one of his war canoes, at Kapiti, or Entry Island. The figure is cut out of hard wood, and coloured red with Kokowai: the eyes are inlaid with pawa, the pearly portion of the haliotis shell.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>2. Richly decorated head of a war canoe belonging to Rauparaha. Some of the war canoes are from sixty to eighty feet in length, and when in use, are gaily ornamented with bunches of kaka and albatross feathers. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>3. Carved head of a canoe at Kaiwarawara, likewise coloured with red ochre. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>4 and 5. Ornamented paddles, belonging to Te Heuheu, the principal chief of Taupo Lake. These paddles exhibit designs similar to those upon the decorated houses and other works of Maori art still extant. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>6. Handle of a canoe paddle, from Taupo Lake. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>7. A canoe under sail, Cook's Straits. </p>

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