Te Whiti O Rongomai - seated

Production date
Jul 1882-Mar 1883
Glass plate negative depicting Te Whiti O Rongomai in Nelson. Te Whiti is seated on a chair, one hand on each leg, wearing a hat and a suit. He appears to be talking. Another man is seated on Te Whiti's left with his head lowered. A canoe can be seen on the ground in front of the two men.

Object detail

Production role
Production date
Jul 1882-Mar 1883
Production period
Subject person
Credit line
"Held by Puke Ariki on behalf of the Trustees at Parihaka pā." For use in reproductions.
Current rights
Accession number
Collection type


Public comments

COLONIST, VOLUME XXXI, ISSUE 5096, 4 JANUARY 1888, PAGE 3 CORRESPONDENCE. YE FAIREY TALES, AND TE WHITI'S PHOTO. To the Editor of the Colonist. Sir,—The local in your evening contemporary of the 30th inst., anent the above erstwhile celebrity, was to me highly amusing. Now, I have on more than one occasion listened with rapt attention to the rev. voyageur's adventures “by flood and field" and I cannot for a moment think that he would lend himself to misrepresent a very ordinary occurrence; on the contrary. Let us consider the great dearth of news now that the great “Palaver House” over the water has taken unto itself Christmas. A chance word dropped in ordinary conversation, mayhap eagerly picked up and embellished by a news-hungry editor during "this eve festive season," and so we have our local, and of a verity, is not history ofttimes so formed? It Is, but somehow "truth is stranger than fiction" and the bare facts as to the why and wherefore of Te Whiti's and his confere, Tohu's photo being taken at all are that I, even I, wanted, for purposes of my own, the likenesses of my genial and kind-hearted friends, but they always objected, for reasons of their own, to oblige me. I tried vainly to secure it; in Christchurch and Dunedin. I may remark en passant, though, that the editor of the 'Nelson Evening Mail' or his friend; making gentle and unassuming Te Whiti "swear by the bones of his ancestors that no Pakeha, &c, &c, is as equally correct as the remainder of this remarkable local, for no Maori profanes the memory or belongings of his dead ancestors by such language. Briefly, after many failures, I at last succeeded, through the courtesy of Messrs Fairey and Schumacker, in allowing two photographers, Messrs Feeney and Akersten, to be placed in ambush, each at separate windows, and with separate cameras, to do the longed-for shooting. Each gentleman succeeded, far beyond my anticipations. My friends were taken in various positions throughout that pleasant afternoon, and if paying cash for all the negatives taken that day by both photographers, binding each of them not to use any or either of the plates or pictures for twelve months, and making two of the photos copyright constitutes ownership, then I, and not "ye little Fairey," am ye guilty person. Yours, &c, John P. Ward. Wakapuaka, 2nd January, 1888,

- Steve Kingston posted 5 months ago.

TOWN EDITION. Nelson Evening Mail. SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 1887. How Te Whiti's photo was obtained.— It is not generally known that we owe to the Rev F. C. B. Fairey, the Australian Rob Roy, who is now on a visit to our city, the possession of the photograph of this famous prophet. Many persons of note had often begged Te Whiti to allow his likeness to be taken, but all in vain; the grim old Maori solemnly declared by the bones of his ancestors that no Pakeha should ever possess it, and it really seemed as though in this instance at least he would be victorious over the all conquering white man. But despite his prophetic insight he had reckoned without his host, never dreaming that a Fairey would have him in spite of himself. During Te Whiti's stay in Nelson Mr Fairey was here on a lecturing tour with his little vessel, and the old chief hearing of this expressed an ardent wish to see the canoe, and the owner was very pleased to gratify his curiosity and resolved to endeavor to obtain a lasting memento of the occasion, and to this end made sundry arrangements without acquainting our dusky friend of their purport. The Rob Roy Canoe was placed in Mr Schumacher's garden near a shed which had a convenient window opening, over which was nailed a tattered old sack, behind which Mr Akersten, a local artist, was placed with his camera. A chair being located at a convenient distance and duly focussed to expedite operations, all was ready for the victim, and the unconscious prophet, in charge of his attendant, was with every courtesy shown into his seat, while the astut captain of the Rob Roy entered into a minute description of the little ship and its fittings. Te Whiti was deeply interested, and while occupied in listening and looking the artist succeeded in getting three negatives of this noted chieftain, and so to use his own figurative expression, “The potato was cooked."

- Steve Kingston posted 5 months ago.

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