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Image Whaia McClutchie, female orator, 1989

TLF ID R8547

This is a black and white photograph of Whaia McClutchie (1922-1992), speaking in 1989 at the wharenui (meeting house) called Porourangi, at Waiomatatini on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. She stands in front of a doorway, on the porch, holding a broad-brimmed hat in her left hand and pointing with her right hand. She wears a bone carving and a dark coat. Older women are seated on the floor of the porch, some wearing headscarves, and a portrait of a woman is propped up against the wall. The doorway, window, and edges of the wall are framed by ornately carved and decorated posts, lintels, and boards. A kōwhaiwhai (painted scroll) pattern can be seen on a rafter at the top right. The image was taken by documentary photographer Jill Carlyle, and measures 18.8 centimetres high by 29.0 centimetres wide.

Educational details

Educational value
  • The asset shows a portrait of Whaia McClutchie, a noted female speaker from the East Coast iwi (tribe) Ngāti Porou. She spoke publicly at many Māori hui (meetings), at a time when women speakers were rare. Ngāti Porou are known for their acceptance of female speakers and leaders, compared with some iwi.
  • It shows a female speaker on a marae. Traditionally it is Māori women who call visitors on to the marae (communal meeting place), but it is men who do the speaking. Māori culture has a strong oral tradition, by way of which knowledge, stories, songs, and genealogies were passed down through the generations. In recent times, refusals to let women speak have become controversial. More Māori (and European) women have acquired the mana (status) to speak on marae, and feminism has challenged traditional roles.
  • It shows Whaia McClutchie at a well-known meeting house called Porourangi. It is a central tribal house of Ngāti Porou and was built between 1878 and 1888. Like many meeting houses, Porourangi is named after a famous tribal ancestor. After the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s and 1870s, several such beautiful meeting houses were built.
  • It depicts the importance of the meeting house. The meeting house physically represents the ancestor. The ridgepole is the spine, the bargeboards at the front are the arms, with the head at the apex, and so on. The porch area is the brains of the ancestor, and the doorway – to the body – is carved to mark the transition from the mythic world outside to the historic time of the ancestors in the house.
  • It shows the door and window crowned by pare (lintels). In this case, the guardian figures carved on the whakawae (jambs) have painted faces – on each side of the door, the faces have chin-and-lip moko (skin marking) while the faces by the window have full-face designs.
  • It shows Whaia McClutchie as recorded by East Coast documentary photographer Jill Carlyle (born 1957). It is one of twenty photographs chosen by the artist for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa collection out of thousands of photos that she took in the 1980s and 1990s at the East Coast of New Zealand. These photographs depict contemporary Maori and rural society and complement the museum’s historical photography collections with similar themes and geographic areas (such as the Burton Brothers and James McDonald collections).

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Organization: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Description: Content provider
  • Address: Wellington, NEW ZEALAND
  • URL:
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Person: Jill Carlyle
  • Description: Author
  • Publisher
  • Name: Curriculum Corporation\; The Le@rning Federation
  • Organization: Curriculum Corporation\; The Le@rning Federation
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL:
Access profile
  • Colour independence
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • Text
  • © Ministry of Education New Zealand, 2008, except where indicated under Acknowledgements