Story: Arts and social engagement

Different views of Okataina pā

Different views of Okataina pā

Art has long been used as propaganda – to persuade or influence – as can be seen in a comparison of this Joseph Merrett sketch of Okataina pā (top) and the later lithograph based on the sketch. The sketch was drawn in 1841 and shows a pōwhiri (welcoming ceremony) under way outside the 's fortifications. When it was reproduced as a lithographic print in London the following year, the people had been erased from the scene. This reinforced the idea that New Zealand was an empty landscape waiting for European occupation.   

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: E-216-f-179; PUBL-0076-071
Drawing by Joseph Jenner Merrett

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:

Ben Schrader, 'Arts and social engagement - Colonisation and social change', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 30 September 2022)

Story by Ben Schrader, published 22 Oct 2014