Size: 1260 x 760 mm
Medium: Oil on board
Duane is a local part time artist with a keen interest in local early Tauranga history. In 2010 Duane completed a series of works referenced to a specific event or era in Tauranga’s early history and depicting the often turbulent and volatile situation within New Zealand at the time. This piece is based on the war between Ngati Ranginui of Mauao and Ngai Te Rangi of Maketu which occurred circa 1700. The painting is looking up at Mauao from the base with an overlaying tukutuku structure based on the Kaokao pattern which is thought to represent the arms and torso of warriors in the action of a haka.
In 1820 the Ngai Te Rangi pa on Mauao was attacked by the Ngapuhi from Northland who had recently acquired guns from European traders. The Ngai Te Rangi had no firearms and were heavily defeated, with over three hundred killed.
My painting is the view from the water as the canoes approached Pilot Bay, where the battle was to take place. Mauao is stretched to take the look of an impenetrable fortress, a fearsome, treacherous stronghold that it once was. The tukutuku structure is the Poutama design which represents the steps of progress and advance, a growth and ascension to higher levels of learning and achievement.
The defeat of the Ngai Te Rangi was the result of a technological advancement. The Ngapuhi had “progressed” from traditional weapons to more sophisticated and far more deadly firearms. The introduction of firearms into Maori warfare began a terrible chapter in New Zealand’s history and had devastating results throughout the country. It is estimated at least 20,000 Maori were killed in the musket wars from the 1810’s until the 1840’s, making it the most costly war New Zealand ever took part in.