Story: Catholic Church

Catholicism and Māori: carved Madonna and child, 1840s (1st of 3)

Catholicism and Māori: carved Madonna and child, 1840s

This version of the Madonna and child was carved by Pataromu Tamatea of Te Arawa for a new Catholic chapel in Bay of Plenty. The carver indicated the Madonna's spiritual status in Māori terms by giving her a full moko (facial tattoo). However the non-Māori priest refused to accept the carving and said that he found it offensive to his church. Catholic and other missionaries sometimes failed to understand traditional Māori responses to Christianity.

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Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira

Permission of the Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Rory Sweetman, 'Catholic Church - First Catholic missionaries', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/object/29273/catholicism-and-maori-carved-madonna-and-child-1840s (accessed 25 August 2019)

Story by Rory Sweetman, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 17 Jul 2018