What's Next | Maori Markings: Ta Moko at National Gallery of Australia


Warrior chief Te Rauparaha | Early 19th century
NGA 78.95
© National Gallery of Australia




March 23, 2019 - August 25, 2019

Ta moko is the unique Māori art of marking the skin with connecting patterns that tell of prestige, authority and identity. To receive and wear moko is a great cultural privilege. Maori Markings: Ta Moko will explore this tradition, from its origin in the legend of Mataora and Niwareka and the earliest European records of the practice to its contemporary resurgence from the 1990s. Important early Maori sculpture, nineteenth-century prints, painting and photography and contemporary photography will trace the story of this unique cultural art form.

The portraits in the exhibition span the past two hundred and fifty years and include images of men and women influential in Māori history. Visitors will have the chance to discover some of the first illustrations of Māori people, made during Captain Cook's voyages. Pictures of chiefs who travelled the world in the early nineteenth century, such as Hongi Hika, will also be among the treasures on display, as will portraits of signatories to the Treaty of Waitangi and of those who openly defied the colonial government during New Zealand's land wars of the mid nineteenth century.


Gottfried Lindauer, 'Portrait of Mrs. Paramena,' 1885. Oil on canvas. Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Gottfried Lindauer, 'Tamati Waka Nene,' 1890. Oil on canvas. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Gottfried Lindauer, 'Pare Watene,' 1878. Oil on canvas. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Gottfried Lindauer, ’Tomika Te Mutu, chief of the Ngaiterangi tribe, Bay of Plenty’ 1880. Rex Nan Kivell Collection, National Library of Australia, Canberra.

Gottfried Lindauer, 'Eruera Maihi Patuone,' 1874. Oil on canvas. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Gottfried Lindauer. Portrait of Ihaka Whanga. 1870. Oil on canvas. Auckland Art Gallery

Carved image of Te Rauparaha fixed in his canoe. Pencil drawing by George French Angas. 1844. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. A-020-008.

Te Raparaha, chief of the Kawias. Watercolor by R. Hall circa 1840s.