Story: Missions and missionaries

Baptism of Te Puni

Baptism of Te Puni

When a chief was baptised into the Christian faith, his whole tribe sometimes followed him. This 1853 painting shows Te Puni, a leading chief of Te Āti Awa in the Wellington region, being baptised by Octavius Hadfield in his church of Rangiātea in Ōtaki. The painting was commissioned by Governor George Grey (fifth from right), who appears with his wife, Eliza, standing beside Hadfield. Grey may have commissioned this painting to show the success of his policy of assimilating Māori into European settler society. However Te Puni was actually baptised in more modest circumstances in Petone, Wellington.

Using this item

National Library of Australia
Reference: nla.pic-an2273028
Oil on canvas by Charles Decimus Barraud

Permission of the National Library of Australia must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Peter J. Lineham, 'Missions and missionaries - Māori converts', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/28017/baptism-of-te-puni (accessed 26 August 2019)

Story by Peter J. Lineham, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 8 Aug 2018