Raharuhi Rukupō of Rongowhakaata (who died in 1873) carved this likely self-portrait on a poupou (carved post) in the meeting house Te Hau-ki-Tūranga, which he and other carvers built in the early 1840s. In 1867 the meeting house came into the possession of the Crown and was moved to Wellington, despite objections from Rukupō and others, and was housed in successive national museums, most recently Te Papa Tongarewa, the Museum of New Zealand. In the deed of settlement signed between the Crown and Rongowhakaata in May 2011, the two sides agreed that Te Hau-ki-Tūranga will be held and cared for to a standard that recognises it as a taonga of cultural, historical and spiritual importance.
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