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Royal Commonwealth Society : Te Whero-Whero or Patuatu, the principal chief of all Waikato; and Te Waro and Te Pakaru

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;'>‘Te Whero-Whero is the most important man of all the Waikato tribes, and has an almost unlimited influence amongst his people; as a warrior he is equally renowned with Rauparaha of Cook's Straits, and there are few chiefs who possess such tact and discrimination in all matters of policy. </p><p style='text-align: justify;'>My interview with Te Whero-whero was in his plantation at Whatawhata, where, seated on the ground against a fallen log, be was superintending his people at their work. Whilst painting his portrait, it commenced raining heavily, but owing to a superstitious notion that his person was tapu, Te Whero-whero refused to change his position; at the same time he most politely ordered some of his people to erect a temporary shed over me: this was at once done, by fastening some blankets to upright poles, and enthroned beneath this canopy, I completed my portrait of old Te Whero-whero.’</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>‘Te Waro is the principal chief of the Nga-ti-Apakura tribe, a division of the Waikatos, and is remarkable as a man of distinguished ability and prowess in all matters connected with the government of his people. He generally resides at Waipa, but is often at Kawhia and Ahuahu. His dress, as represented in the plate, is a Kaitaka, with a very rich border. Te Pakaru is the head chief of the Nga-ti-Maniapoto tribe, also an important division of the Waikatos: like Te Waro he is a celebrated orator, and the mildness of his manners, combined with the general amiability of his conduct, have long rendered him a universal favourite amongst all who know him. Te Pakaru is sometimes called Apokea, and dwells near the Mission Station of Ahuahu, where he usually attends the service as a Christian convert.’</p>

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