Michel Tuffery’s diptych ‘Tupaia’s chart Cook and Banks/Tupaia’s and Parkinson’s paintbox’ depicts some of the many skills of the Tahitian (Maohi) arioi (chief) Tupaia, who travelled to New Zealand with British explorer James Cook in 1769. Tupaia charted over 100 islands in the Pacific, and the image of a Māori and Pākehā man trading a crayfish is based on one of his drawings. Because of the similarities between the Tahitian and Māori languages, Tupaia was able to act as an interpreter for Cook at Ūawa, Ōpoutama, now known as Cooks Cove, Tolaga Bay.
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Acrylic on canvas by Michel Tuffery, 2004
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