Story: Ideas about Māori origins

‘Sauvage de la Nouvelle Zéelande’, 1789 (3rd of 3)

‘Sauvage de la Nouvelle Zéelande’, 1789

This watercolour was painted by a French artist who had never visited New Zealand. Looking more like a Roman warrior than a Māori, the man is standing against a background that is also remarkably inauthentic – the whare (house) is the wrong shape and has no carved columns. Artists living in Europe were drawing images based upon the journals of early explorers. Artworks such as these helped to create the impression that Europeans and Māori were somehow linked.

Using this item

Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki
Etching by Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauver

Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

K. R. Howe, 'Ideas about Māori origins - 1770s–1840s: early ideas', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 June 2022)

Story by K. R. Howe, published 8 Feb 2005