Story: Ngā tuakiri hōu – new Māori identities

'Female savage'

'Female savage'

This 1796 etching of a 'Sauvagesse de la Nouvelle-Zélande' (female savage of New Zealand) shows a Māori woman in a feathered headdress and striped shawl, holding a child. It was drawn by Jacques Grasset de Saint Saveur, a Montreal-born diplomat, artist and writer who specialised in recording the costumes and customs of 'exotic' peoples. He never visited New Zealand and his images of Māori relied on the descriptions of explorers such as James Cook. His identification of this woman as a 'savage' is typical of educated European attitudes towards Māori in this period.

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: A-356-004
Artwork by Jacques Grasset de Saint-Sauver

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:

Rawiri Taonui, 'Ngā tuakiri hōu – new Māori identities - Early Māori identities', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/29804/female-savage (accessed 19 June 2019)

Story by Rawiri Taonui, published 5 May 2011, updated 1 Jun 2017