Significant Taonga returns to New Zealand

Press Release – Webb’s

Webb’s Oceanic & African Art specialist Jeff Hobbs is thrilled with the safe return to New Zealand of a Pou tokomanawa figure attributed to the distinguished carver Anaha Te Rahui (1822 – 1913).

Pou tokomanawa; Attributed to Anaha Te Rahui (1822 - 1913). Ngati Tarawhai. Provenance: Formerly in the Collection of M.K. Stubberfeilds, England. Private Collection, Italy
Pou tokomanawa Attributed to Anaha Te Rahui (1822 – 1913). Ngati Tarawhai. Provenance: Formerly in the Collection of M.K. Stubberfeilds, England. Private Collection, Italy

Media Release | Webb’s Oceanic & African Art Department

Significant piece of Taonga returns to New Zealand: an early Pou tokomana Figure by celebrated Ngati Tarawhai carver Anaha Te Rahui. (1822 – 1913).

Webb’s Oceanic & African Art specialist Jeff Hobbs is thrilled with the safe return to New Zealand of a Pou tokomanawa figure attributed to the distinguished carver Anaha Te Rahui (1822 – 1913).

“The carver is celebrated in New Zealand and this fine example of a Pou tokomanawa figure is a most significant piece of Taonga. It will find a passionate audience in New Zealand and its return is a notable event. ”

A Pou tokomanawa is a carved centre-post which supports the tahuhu (ridge pole) of a large whare tupuna (ancestral house) or whare runanga (tribal council house).

The carving currently being held at customs is due to arrive at Webb’s this week is attributed to Anaha Te Rahui, who in 1864 was the acknowledged leader of Ngati Tarawhai and led many campaigns involving Te Arawa contingents on the government side. Anaha Te Rahui was a skilled carver and meeting houses carved for Maori patrons with which he is especially associated are; Rangitihi in 1867–71 and Tokopikowhakahau in 1877. Rangitihi stood at Taheke, on the northern shore of Rotoiti. Most of its carvings are now in the Auckland War Memorial Museum, and one panel is in St Petersburg. When Anaha passed away in 1913 he was the last of the Ngati Tarawhai canoe builders, and was thought to be over 90 years of age. He was very much a man of his people, a great leader, an artist and a capable man of affairs.

His Pou tokomanawa figure will be included in Webb’s first Oceanic & African Art auction for 2012 to be held next month.

Webb’s Managing Director Neil Campbell was also proud to be involved in the repatriation of such a prestigious piece. “We spend of a lot time and energy travelling the world trying to find these lost treasures that have become highly sort after on the world stage. We often compete against the big boys and any decision by a client to work with us reflects their belief that this kind of material deserves to come home.’

ENDS

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