Story: New Zealand identity

'The last of the cannibals: Tumai Tawhiti'

'The last of the cannibals: Tumai Tawhiti'

Charles Goldie's portrait of Tumai Tawhiti, completed in 1913, reflected the prevailing view that Māori were a 'dying race' – which is also suggested by the title Goldie gave the painting. This encouraged a romantic sentimentality towards Māori from the end of the 19th century. Looking for a distinctive New Zealand form of cultural expression, a number of Pākehā painters, poets and novelists focused their work on Māori subjects. Goldie was perhaps the best-known of these, but they also included the poet and novelist Arthur Adams and the journalist and historian James Cowan.

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Aigantighe Art Gallery
Oil on canvas by Charles Goldie

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How to cite this page:

Fiona Barker, 'New Zealand identity - Culture and arts', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/34621/the-last-of-the-cannibals-tumai-tawhiti (accessed 19 July 2019)

Story by Fiona Barker, published 20 Jun 2012