0190 Māori and Portraiture

  • Roger Blackley (Author)
    Victoria University of Wellington

    Roger Blackley teaches in the art history programme at Victoria University of Wellington, where he specialises in nineteenth-century and colonial art. His particular interest is the intersection of art and ethnography, and especially the relationships forged by colonial artists with indigenous subjects and patrons. Blackley was formerly a curator at the Auckland Art Gallery, where he organised a number of exhibitions and associated publications including Goldie (1997), the first retrospective of New Zealand’s celebrated painter of Māori portraits. His 2008 exhibition, Te Mata: The Ethnological Portrait, profiled a 1908 collection of Māori portrait busts by the itinerant sculptor Nelson Illingworth. Works such as those by Lindauer, Goldie and Illingworth are central to his forthcoming book, Galleries of Maoriland: Artists, Collectors and the Māori World, 1880-1910, which offers fresh perspectives on Māori portraiture and ethnological art in fin de siècle New Zealand.

Identifiers (Article)


Gottfried Lindauer’s Māori portraiture offers a distinctive example of a bicultural artistic practice in nineteenth-century New Zealand, one serving both European and indigenous patronage to a degree that is unparalleled in other British settler societies. This essay places the example of Lindauer into a wider context of Māori enthusiasm for and engagement with the genre of portraiture, ranging from the voyaging artists of the precolonial period to the emergence of the ‘ethnological’ portrait in the later nineteenth century. In charting the evolving relationships between subjects, artists, photographers and collectors, what do we learn about Māori attitudes to portraiture?


Gottfried Lindauer, Sydney Parkinson, William Hodges, Pākehā artists, Walter Buller, Henry Partridge, New Zealand, Maori, Portrait Painting