The Māori King Tāwhiao is shown here in about 1882, some 22 years after he inherited his title from his father. Like most, if not all, distinguished Māori leaders, Tāwhiao was known for composing waiata to mark significant occasions or to deliver important pronouncements. In the 1860s he composed this waiata urging land retention.
Ka ngapu te whenua
Ka haere ngā tāngata ki whea?
Kia mau, kia mau!
The earthquake shakes the land
Where shall man find an abiding place?
Oh Ruaimoko (god of the lower depths)
Bind, tightly firm!
Be firm, be firm!
Hold fast the land.
Using this item
Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki
Oil painting by Gottfried Lindauer
Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.