Topic: Arts

Search for owners of tūpuna paintings

By Jessica Tyson
  • Northland
  • Auckland

Police are asking for help from the public to find the owners of three “remarkable paintings” of renowned tūpuna.

A police spokesperson says the three oil paintings on canvas were found several years ago in the back of a vehicle in Auckland.

“We've made a number of enquiries in the past to try and locate the owners, however these have been unsuccessful and so the officer in charge has put this out on social media as our last chance to try and find the owners,” the spokesperson says.

The first piece (below) is a print by famed artist Gottfried Lindauer.

“Recorded along the bottom right of this print is Rewi Manga Maniapoto, 1882, reproduced by courtesy of the Auckland City Art Gallery, G Lindauer, 1882, Capper Press,” police say.

According to NZ History Rewi Manga Maniapoto was of the Ngātu Paretekawa hapū of Ngāti Maniapoto. In the 1950s he was a leading supporter of the Kingitanga Movement. 

Police have identified the tūpuna in the second painting (below) to be Tumai Tawhiti, a warrior of Ngati Raukawa and Te Arawa, born in 1812 in the Bay of Plenty.

“Recorded on the bottom right is T. S Mackay, Auckland. There are tape marks around the outer edges that suggest this has been in a frame.”

Police say the third painting (below) is recorded as Rueti Watea by artist Ray J Dawson ’77. 

If people have any information about the paintings they are being urged to contact Detective Sergeant Millar Rewi on 09 213 8333, police say.

Alternatively, information can be provided anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.