Story: European discovery of New Zealand

Early depiction of a Māori chief

Early depiction of a Māori chief

James Cook and those who accompanied him had sustained and friendly interaction with Māori, and made detailed observations. The artist Sydney Parkinson, who travelled with Cook on the Endeavour, made many sketches, including this portrait of ‘the head of a chief of New Zealand, the face curiously tataow’d, or marked according to their manner’. The chief has a full facial moko (tattoo), a greenstone tiki around his neck, an ear pendant, and a comb in his topknot.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PUBL-0037-16
Engraving after a wash drawing by Sydney Parkinson

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

John Wilson, 'European discovery of New Zealand - Cook’s achievement', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/1429/early-depiction-of-a-maori-chief (accessed 18 August 2019)

Story by John Wilson, published 8 Feb 2005, updated 1 May 2016