Te Rangihaeata: Exodus to Battle Hill #1

2017 resolution to tell more stories. This one is set in 1846 when local Maori, the Ngati Toa led by Te Rangihaeata, abandoned their pa (fortified village) at the end of Pauatahanui arm of Porirua Harbour after many skirmishes on and around the harbour with British troops and colonists.

They set up trenches and pallisades on the top of Battle Hill further up the valley where the last military engagements in the Wellington area occurred (4 British graves still at the foot of the hill). Finally Ngati Toa abandoned the hilltop and escaped down the other side in the winter night.

The painting shows the Ngati Toa waka (fighting canoes) which held up to 50 warriors/paddlers and were apparently a stirring sight when pursuing the British on the harbour. And St Albans Church built on the destroyed/presumably confiscated pa site somehow summarises it all.

The lower part steals from Kandinsky’s “Passage by Boat” (1910) – the movement from dark water to light on the hill suits the story I think, as does the wave motion in the hills, the (colonial) tide in the affairs of man.

On my living room wall, in part to remind me that I can chose to be a bit more abstract, that “dead” colour areas work, and to tell stories (plus I like it). Oils 60cm x 60cm


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