The exquisitely detailed portraits were painted by Isaac Coates (1808-1878), a Quaker from the North of England. He moved to New Zealand in around 1843, arriving in the New Zealand Company settlement of Nelson. Coates spent only a few years in New Zealand before moving to Adelaide, Australia where he later chaired the New Zealand Club. Ten years later he returned to England.
|AWNS-19150610-44-5, Quaker girls, Sir George Grey Special Collections|
“The people painted by Coates were living through a time of fundamental transformation, as the Māori and European worlds bumped up against each other. You can see this in the portrait of Pikiwati, who has a partially tattooed face, drawn in exquisite detail, but is also wearing European dress: a blue jacket and neck scarf.” says Alexander Turnbull Library Māori Curator, Paul Diamond.
|Ref: 4-1592, the bowpiece of Te Rauparaha's waka (canoe), Sir George Grey Special Collections|