|ARTIST:||Charles Frederick Goldie|
|DATES:||New Zealand 1870 - 1947|
|TITLE:||Memories: Tamaiti Tūkino, a Chieftainess of the Ngāti Tūwharetoa Tribe, Taupo, aged 95 years|
|MEDIUM:||Oil on panel|
|SIZE:||20.1 x 15 cm|
Signed 'C. F. Goldie' upper left
Exhibited: Auckland Society of Arts, 1919, no. 127
Illustrated: Alister Taylor, Goldie, Vol. 2, 1919, 277.
Goldie took particular interest in those individuals of high rank or prominence within the Māori tribes. Over time he would study and paint several portraits of the same sitter. In his painting Memories, Goldie depicts the ninety-five year old Chieftainess of the Ngāti Tūwharetoa Tribe, Tamaiti Tūkino, a descendant of the paramount chief of the Tūwharetoa tribe Te Heuheu Tūkino The Great (1780-1846). The tribe Ngāti Tūwharetoa takes its name from this powerful chief who lived near present day Kawerau during the sixteenth century. Te Heuheu Tūkino descended from the lines of Te Arawa, the primary Iwi in the central North Island of New Zealand. Ngāti Tūwharetoa’s tribal territory is located in the Lake Taupo water catchment area; Tamaiti Tūkino herself lived at Tokaanu.
The Chieftainess wears a traditional Māori cloak (korowai), greenstone pendant (hei tiki) and earring. These are all customary pieces for a person of status and honour within a Māori tribe. Her detailed facial tattooing (tā moko) and the reed (raupo) wall in the background are also of importance, referencing intrinsic parts of the Māori culture and its various art forms. Indeed, Goldie’s paintings depicting the Māori are recognised as important historical sources for the study of Polynesian art forms.
Understandably, the oeuvre of Charles Goldie is generally regarded as the most effective portrayal of the Māori and their culture within the history of art. Memories is an exemplary case of Goldie’s unrivalled talent for meticulous painting techniques and diligent documentation of the Māori civilisation.
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