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Image 'Feast at the Bay of Islands', 1849

TLF ID R2464

This is a watercolour painting created by Captain Richard Aldworth Oliver (1811-89) in 1849. It depicts a large häkari (feast) held in the northern part of the North Island to celebrate reconciliation after fighting. In the middle of the painting there is a large wooden structure called a potehe (stage). The painting measures 37.0 cm x 52.0 cm.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset shows the feast hosted by the local Mäori iwi (tribal group) Nga Puhi as a celebration of reconciliation between a faction of the tribe and the British Crown, represented by Governor George Grey.
  • It is a historical reference to this event, at which peace was concluded between Nga Puhi and the British following the early New Zealand Wars of 1844-46.
  • It provides a spectacular example of Mäori monumental architecture - the size of the potehe indicates the importance of the event, although Oliver may have embellished the scale to emphasise the event’s significance as there is no record of a potehe ever being constructed to this size.
  • It shows that the potehe, which was used to store food for the häkari, was constructed of wood - it would later be dismantled and used as fuel to cook the food for the celebration.
  • It is an example of the watercolour skills of Captain Richard Aldworth Oliver, who attended the häkari in September 1849 while undertaking a survey of New Zealand - Oliver was the captain of the HMS 'Fly' and in charge of the first hydrographical survey (the mapping of bodies of water) of New Zealand, but as he also had artistic skills, he was told to record what he saw and make his images available as bookplates.

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Organization: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Description: Content provider
  • URL:
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Person: Richard Aldworth Oliver
  • Description: Author
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Organization: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Publisher
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organization: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • 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
  • Device independence
  • Hearing independence
Learning Resource Type
  • Image
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements