Golden Bay and Tall Men On Hill Tops

John Bevan FORD (Ngāti Raukawa ki Kāpiti, b.1930, d.2005): Artist
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This image adapts one of the first European images of Māori and Aotearoa in order to present a Māori perspective on that engagement. The lower section of the image appropriates the drawings of 'Murderers Bay, 1642' by Isaack Gilsemann, who was the draughtsman on Abel Tasman's discovery expedition of New Zealand (1643-43). The image also incorporates European accounts of the engagement between the Dutch crew and tangata whenua, which lead to physical conflict and the death of some crew.

The image describes two Dutch ships entering Golden Bay. Standing on the hilltops are abstracted "tall men" (rendered in a style similar to early Māori cave drawings), which was the description given of tangata whenua by the ship's crew. Above this scene is a kaitaka, a prestigious Māori cloak form, bordered with a triangular pattern known as 'niho taniwha' (the tooth of the dragon) and symbolises the power of nature. The cloak is a recurring image in this artist's work and may be interpreted as representing the authority of tangata whenua, and the protection offered by their ancestors, in this location.
Watercolour and coloured inks on paper
Dimensions: 0 - Whole: 1055 x 835mm
Dimensions: frame: 1055 x 835mm
Dimensions: image: 720 x 510mm
Credit line
Purchased in 1996 from the exhibition 'Te Hono Ki Zeelandia Nova - Works on paper by John Bevan Ford'
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