The memory of what has been and never more will be. Harieta, an Arawa chieftainess1916

by Charles Frederick Goldie

Born in New Zealand in 1870, a precocious Charles Goldie moved to Paris in 1890, to study art. On his return to Auckland in 1898, he soon established himself as New Zealand’s leading artist, who specialised in depicting Māori (always with moko or tattoos) as symbols of ‘noble relics of a noble race’ — a sentiment suggested by the title of this painting. By the 1910s Goldie reduced the size of his works to more saleable small panels. This work was exhibited in 1917 and was priced at £16 16s.

Although Goldie thought Māori were ‘dying out’ the early 1900s were actually a time of revival of Māori culture, and Goldie’s work is now often revered as irreplaceable ancestral images.