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New worlds: The 1800s

In the early trade between Māori and Europeans, items made of iron were much sought after. Metal tools allowed Māori carvers to extend their virtuosity into increasingly elaborate work.

As Pākehā settlement progressed, Māori carvers adopted three-dimensional modelling and new motifs. Some carved European objects like chairs and walking sticks for Pākehā demand. Other developments, like the boom in construction of carved meeting houses, occurred independently of Pākehā artistic influence.

Pākehā art, by contrast, is remarkable for how little it changed from its contact with a new land and its peoples. Images created by travelling and settler artists were made according to European artistic conventions. Well into the twentieth century, art made in this country was barely distinct from that of Europe - only the subject matter of people and place differed.

This continuity meant that new European movements in art were also reflected here, albeit usually diluted in impact and delayed in time. Such developments most often came with the arrival of new artists - like Petrus Van der Velden and James Nairn.

Click on the images below to find out more

Pink terraces

Charles Blomfield
Pink Terraces

Storm at Wellington Heads

Petrus van der Velden Storm at Wellington Heads

Carved chair


Attributed to Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti iwi (tribe) Paepae (threshold)


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