Story: Arts and the nation

'The last of the cannibals: Tumai Tawhiti', by Charles Goldie (3rd of 3)

 'The last of the cannibals: Tumai Tawhiti', by Charles Goldie

Charles Goldie, who painted this portrait in 1913, was the best-known artist of 'Maoriland'. Trained in Paris, Goldie returned to New Zealand and saw Māori subjects as the major artistic theme for New Zealanders. He presented Māori as a 'dying race', as many believed at the time, so his portraits tended to be of old men and women, dressed in traditional clothes, and with their eyes turned downwards. They expressed a nostalgia for a history that was passing. This idea of the 'dying race' is also suggested in his title for the work. The subject, Tūmai Tāwhiti, was a warrior of Ngāti Raukawa and Te Arawa descent.

Using this item

Aigantighe Art Gallery
Oil on canvas by Charles Goldie

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

All images & media in this story

How to cite this page:

Jock Phillips, 'Arts and the nation - Cultural nationalism, 1890 to 1910', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/45007/the-last-of-the-cannibals-tumai-tawhiti-by-charles-goldie (accessed 15 November 2019)

Story by Jock Phillips, published 22 Oct 2014