Portrait Of Te Heuheu Tukino Iv, Called Horonuku

ROBERT ATKINSON (b.1863,d.1896)

Portrait Of Te Heuheu Tukino Iv, Called Horonuku
Oil On Canvas
740 x 580

This portrait is a record of the likeness of Te Heuheu Tukino IV (1820s?-1888), called Patatai and later Horonuku, paramount chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa. The artist Robert Atkinson was born at Leeds, England and studied there under Richard Waller and later in Antwerp with Verlat. He came to New Zealand in 1885 for health reasons and settled in Auckland as a professional artist, maintaining a studio in Victoria Arade. He was also a friend of Mrs Kate McCosh Clark and at one time used as a studio a building in the grounds of the McCosh Clark estate, now the site of King's School, Remuera. He illustrated Kate McCosh Clark's Maori Tales and Legends in 1896. Atkinson also became a friend of the painter Albin Martin, painting his portrait. By 1890 he had moved to Sydney where he died six years later. Te Heuheu Tukino IV was the son of Te Heuheu Tukino II, called Mananui (?-1846) and his second wife, Te Mare. In May 1846 Mananui and a number of his eight wives and children were killed in a landslide at Te Rapa, Waihi on the southern shores of LakeTaupo. His twenty two year old son Patatai, who had spent most of his childhood with Waikato relatives, was not living at Te Rapa at the time of the disaster. Because he was considered too inexperienced to succeed his father his place was taken by Mananui's elder brother Iwikau, who became Te Heuheu Tukino III. In 1847 Patatai returned with fitting ceremony to Taupo from Waikato for the hahunga or bone lifting ritual which preceded the burial of his father's family. At this time he adopted the new name of Horonuku which means landslide. On the death of Iwikau in 1862 he became Te Heuheu Tukino IV. Because of his close connections with Waikato, Horonuku felt obliged in 1864 to lead two hundred Ngati Tuwharetoa warriors into Waikato to oppose British army troops during the large scale land confiscations carried out under General Cameron. Believing that family alliances demanded his interference in the conflict he knowingly broke with the non-alignment policy of Iwikau. After the defeat of Rewi Maniapoto's forces at Orakau, Horonuku returned to Taupo, remaining at peace untl 1869 when he joined forces with Te Kooti Rikirangi during the Hauhau uprising. After their allied forces were defeated at Te Porere near Ngaruahoe, Sir Donald McLean, M.P., and Chief Land Purchae Commissioner, induced Horonuku to dissociate himself from Te Kooti. McLean escorted Horonuku and his family to Napier , took care of them at his estate near Maraekakaho after which Horonuku lived for some time at Pakowhai near Hastings. As the result of his unsuccessful military alliances Horonuku was regarded as having disgraced his family name. Other tribes who had fought on the Pakeha side during the Land Wars regarded his Ngati Tuwharetoa lands as " rebel strongholds " and used this as an excuse to attempt to take legal possession of Horonuku's tribal territory. Horonuku opposed such action with great eloquence in the courts. Although paramount chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa and a man of enormous dignity, Horonuku always felt disadvantaged because his father's accidental death had deprived him of the kupu or paternal blessing regarded as essential in the passing of chiefly mana from father to son. Certainly the mantle of power would have undoubtedly fallen on his elder brother Te Waaka had he not perished in the landslide. Horonuku was widely misunderstood by Europeans who misinterpreted his loyalty to his own people as rebellion against the crown. In the light of these problems it was decided that Horonuku would re-establish his mana by declaring the Ngati Tuwharetoa mountains of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngaruahoe and their surrounding land a national park for the nation. This occured in 1887 when Horonuku was 61 years old. He died the following year in 1888 - the year before Robert Atkinson painted this portrait of a dark haired subject. A Burton Brothers photograph of Horonuku shows a white haired man. One can only surmise that Atkinson used a sketch he had made earlier or had obtained a photograph of the younger Horonuku. The moko in portrait and photograph is identical.

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