The people of the Czech Republic have long hoped to show the Māori portraits painted by Gottfried Lindauer.
That goal was realised today with the opening of an exhibition of Gottfried Lindauer's works in Pilsen.
It was a big day for the New Zealand contingent. This morning, they had breakfast with the mayor of Pilsen in the town hall.
That was followed by a performance by Ngāti Rānana in the main square to entertain the locals and the official opening of an exhibition of Gottfried Lindauer's paintings of Māori ancestors.
Today locals finally got to see the incredible portraits of Māori painted by one of their own.
Patu Hohepa says, “We need to consider how we acknowledge the deeds of our ancestors. Those hanging on the walls journeyed overseas very much like our soldiers who went overseas. They have retained that Māori essence, the reverence of our long gone ancestors.”
Locals were treated to some entertainment from Ngāti Ranana.
Lewis Whaitiri says, “Many of the members in Ngāti Rānana have ancestors hanging on the walls here. So we're very fortunate to be able to come and see our ancestors, to accompany the Lindauer exhibition and to catch up with our elders from home.”
We could feel Gottfried Lindauer's spirit and the awe of the locals who saw his works.
Raiha Kerei says, “They were talking to us and we were crying. It was sad. I'm sure we're all emotional because it's our tūpuna. I think this is an important discussion we need to have back home because some wouldn't even know we're here if they didn't see it on TV. Even if no one came, at least those from home came.”
This isn't the end for the exhibition. It will be showing here for the next four months.
It will then return to Auckland Museum in September where they will be open to public viewing.