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Image 'Young Mäori in European clothes', 1865

TLF ID R2467

This is a watercolour painting created by British soldier Horatio Gordon Robley (1840-1930) in 1865. It shows a Mäori man dressed in European clothing, standing in front of a whare (house). A young child stands in a corner under eaves and a cat lies nearer the door. The painting measures 18.2 cm x 27.8 cm.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset shows the European influence on Mäori housing at the time, in the small paned window and square, modern door of the house - European architectural styles were most likely taught to local Mäori by the first European settlers.
  • It shows the European influence on Mäori clothing at the time, in the style of clothing worn (hat, jacket, pants) - these clothes would have been traded or bartered by the Europeans with local Mäori.
  • It shows the European influence on Mäori domestic life at the time, in the depiction of the cat - although Mäori used dogs for hunting and kept birds as pets, domestic cats were unknown in New Zealand until the early 1800s, when they arrived with the first European settlers.
  • It was created prior to widespread European settlement in New Zealand - this explains why the pictorial records of Robley (and other artists at the time) tend to focus on Mäori subjects.
  • It is an example of Robley's skills in watercolour and pencil drawings - Robley came to New Zealand with the 68th Durham Light Infantry to fight in the New Zealand Wars (conflict between local Mäori and the government over land issues in the mid-19th century); widely known as the 'soldier with a pencil', he was told to record what he saw as a document for the public back home.

Other details

  • Content provider
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Remarks: Reproduced courtesy of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 1865
  • Name: Horatio Gordon Robley
  • Remarks: artist
  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 29 Aug 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning resource type
  • Image
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Operating systems
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  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements