Bradshaw Foundation - Latest News

BRADSHAW FOUNDATION - LATEST NEWS

 

Maori rock art

30 Oct 2018
Share on Facebook

An article by Gerard Hindmarsh on stuff.co.nz - Maori rock art sites our cathedrals - reports on the Maori rock art of the South Island of New Zealand.

Maori rock art of the South Island of New Zealand
At Craigmore Station, inland Timaru, the Cave of the Eagle takes its name from a painting of the now extinct Haast Eagle (harpagornis moorei) which decorates the overhang's ceiling. Image: Gerard Hindmarsh.

The author is visiting a rock art site in a remote part of South Canterbury, having begun his journey at the Te Ana Rock Art Centre in central Timaru. It is a Ngai Tahu-owned visitor centre run in conjunction with guided tours of Maori rock art sites in the area. Exactly 580 rock art sites exist within the tribe's South Island boundaries and 250 of those are in the Timaru area, many on private land.

The author explains that the Centre attempts to recreate an experience of walking onto a marae, except the wahine singing the authentic karanga is a state of the art hologram projection on a glass screen. Mentioned are the four historic tribes thought to produce all the art. Generally, the authenticity is maintained through interactive displays and dioramas. There are also exhibits of rock art, all of which had been cut from their cave by early scholars keen to preserve them. 

Then to the rock art in situ: the author visits Rock Farm near Cave, just inland from Pleasant Point, and shown what is locally called Dog Rock, a massive limestone outcrop in the middle of a huge hillside paddock.

Maori rock art of the South Island of New Zealand

A grill now protects the rock paintings in an overhang of Dog Rock, on Rock Farm near Cave. Image: Gerard Hindmarsh.

Two sheltered overhangs contain the paintings which are now protected by a grill. The two guides explain that no one knows exactly who made the rock art in the country's first art galleries.

The shelters examined by archaeologists were used by some of the South Island's earliest inhabitants. The Maori rock art reveals different styles. Repeated motifs through the rock art include animal figures, mythical creatures and abstract patterns. The arrival of Europeans was documented in the art.

 
Article continues below
 

At Craigmore Station further inland, the author visited the Cave of the Eagle (Te Ana Pouakai), where a painting of the now extinct Haast Eagle (harpagornis moorei) decorates the overhang's ceiling. The earliest paintings here are attributed to Waitaha people. Alongside, a human form is depicted front on, with the core of the torso uncoloured. Symon, the guide, speculates this may have been their mauri or soul, while bird people depictions she says represent the intermediaries between people and sky.

A human form in the Cave of the Eagle (Te Ana Pouakai) is depicted front on, with the core of the torso uncoloured, the blank maybe representing the person's mauri or soul. Image: Gerard Hindmarsh.

All of the motifs have parallels with the most ancient Maori artefacts and carvings, even if many of the subjects appear simplified and more streamlined than the detailed and elaborate designs found in later classical Maori carving, weaving and ta moko .

The author explains that elements of South Island rock art are similar to the rock art found across the Pacific, from Hawaii to Easter Island. Polynesian navigators brought with them a palette of motifs, with the tiki - or human figure - being the most commonly depicted. Once here, these traditions transformed and evolved over time to become unique to this land.

Maori rock art of the South Island of New Zealand

Craigmore Station, the cave of the Eagle is situated lower left, at the base of the limestone outcrop. Image: Gerard Hindmarsh.

Most of the rock art was painted rather than drawn, using black or red pigments on naturally smooth, light-coloured limestone. It is thought artists may have used brushed made of plant fibre, sticks or just their fingers to apply the paint to the rock surface. Some art was carved or incised into the rock. Variations of white or yellow were created by abrading the limestone surface, which prepared the rough rock canvas for the intricate designs.

According to one traditional southern Maori recipe for black paint, the green branches of the resinous manoao tree were burned, the smoke directed to settle against a flax mat. Scraped off, the soot was mixed with gum from the tarata (lemonwood), oil extracted from the berries of the rautawhiri (black matipo) along with weka oil. The result was 'an ink that would stand forever'.

Over the centuries the corrosive forces of nature have taken their toll, and rising salts have affected the surface of the porous limestone. However, human interaction has caused the greatest damage, either by deliberate vandalism or by the best intentions of scholars.

Maori rock art of the South Island of New Zealand

Dutch artist Theo Schoon left his signature in the Cave of Eagle in 1947. He was contracted by the government to document all our rock art, but couldn't resist touching them up at the same time. Image: Gerard Hindmarsh.

In the past, some researchers damaged the integrity of the art by tracing over the faint originals works with house paint, chalk, ink and grease crayons. Theo Schoon, a Dutch painter who was hired by the government in the late 1940s to document the rock art, routinely touched them up with chalk and 'Moa' brand oil crayons that were in common use in schools at the time.

Te Ana Maori Rock Art Centre:
https://www.teana.co.nz/

COMMENTS

 
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
FACEBOOK UPDATES
** Like Page below to receive our articles on Facebook **
LATEST NEWS ARTICLES
 
ROCK ART ARTICLES
30 Oct 2018
26 Sep 2018
19 Jul 2018
19 Jun 2018
05 Jun 2018
Bradshaw FoundationAboutiShopBook ReviewSite MapMailing ListDonateFacebookTwitterContact
If you have enjoyed visiting this section of the website please consider adding a link
Bradshaw Foundation © MMXI
Homepage About the Foundation Contact Us Facebook News Articles Twitter List of Research Papers Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Travel Index About the Expeditions Forthcoming Expeditions Bespoke Expeditions Enquire Practical Information History of Exploration Welcome to the iShop Film Downloads DVD's Sculpture Prints Clothing Messenger Bag eBooks INORA Downloads About iLecture Films Shipping & Handling iLectures In Conversation Video Stories Travel Films Read the reviews Privacy Policy Bradshaw Foundation Facebook Friends of the Foundation Archive Index World's Oldest Rock Art Africa Documentary Films South Africa RARI Giraffe Carvings Niger Namibia Western Central Africa Africa Paintings Gallery Tanzania The Tuareg People Tuareg Salt Caravans Gilf Kebir Birnin Kudu Rock Art Center Archive Index San Rock Art Paintings San Bushman San Rock Art Film Origins Centre Johannesburg Archive Index Arizona Baja California Baja California Film Coso Range Talking Stone Film Nevada Oregon Territory Moab, Utah Clovis First Australia Archive Index Introduction Bradshaw Paintings Kimberley Region The Unambal Hugh Brown Leif Thiele Gallery Dan Clark Grahame Walsh Bradshaws / Gwion Gwion Archive Index Introduction Origins of the British Avebury Stonehenge Sounds of Stonehenge The British Museum British Isles Megaliths Gower Peninsula Rock Art Mendip Hills Prehistory Northumberland Rock Art Red Lady of Paviland Stone Age Mammoth Abattoir Archive Index Introduction Peterborough Petroglyphs Western Canadian Rock Art Writing-On-Stone Wuikinuxv Territory Dinosaur Provincial Park Archive Index Huashan Rock Art Yinchuan Museum Rock Art Festival Field Trip Gallery Itinerant Creeds Inner Mongolia & Ningxia Vanishing Civilization Life in Rock Art (PDF) Tibet Tibet Photographs Dazu Rock Carvings Tiger Motif Archive Index Chauvet Cave Lascaux Cave Niaux Cave Cosquer Cave Rouffignac Cave Portable Art Defining Rock Art Tuc d'Audoubert Bison Dr. Jean Clottes Index UNESCO World Heritage Introduction Cave Paintings Gallery Visiting the Chauvet Cave Return to Chauvet Cave Investigating the Cave Venus & Sorcerer Werner Herzog Film Chauvet Publications India Archive Index Rock Art Central India Pachmarhi Hills India Rock Art Gallery Preservation & Education Dr. V. S. Wakankar Articles on India Rock Art Contemporary Art Middle East Archive Index Middle East Inroduction Rock Art of Iran Rock Art of Saudi Arabia United Arab Emirates Rock Art Ancient Geometry Middle East Colonisation Scandinavian Rock Art Archive Scandinavian Introduction Alta Rock Art Norway Rock Art in Finland Tanum Rock Art Sweden Thor Heyerdahl Archive Index Introduction America's Oldest Art? Pedra Furada Bolivian Rock Art Campeche Island - Brazil Checta Petroglyphs - Peru Cueva de las Manos Santa Catarina Island - Brazil Rock Art in Britain Campeche Rock Art Petroglyphs El Salvador - Corinto Cave Hand Rock Art Paintings Tibetan Rock Art United Arab Emirates Uzbekistan Yinchuan Rock Art Museum Introduction Ice Age Art Gallery Claire Artemyz Jill Cook Interview Cycladic Introduction Cycladic Gallery Introduction Geometric Signs Chart Research Methodology Geometric Signs in France Sign Types/Countries/Regions Bibliography Ancient Symbols in Rock Art Newsletter Archive Download Issues Introduction Genetic Map Professor Stephen Oppenheimer Further Reading Origins of the British BBC Documentary Origins Index Origins Overview 13 Big Questions Stanley Ambrose Homo Floresiensis Herto Skulls Homo Dmanisi Liujiang Skull Introduction Sentinels in Stone Easter Island Rock Art Birdman Cult / Motif Sea & Marine Creatures Design & Motifs Dr Georgia Lee Easter Island Map Contemporary Art Glossary Conclusion Thor Heyerdahl Introduction When & Who Built It? How Was It Built? The Area Sounds of Stonehenge Meaning of a Pyramid Pyramid Studies Pyramid Superstructure Pyramid Substructure Pyramid Preparations Pyramid Building Saqqara Nabil Swelim Temples of Malta and Gozo Research in the Caucasus The Keselo Foundation Homo Dmanisi Ancient Toolmakers Index Introduction Descent into the Cave The Decorated Caves Shamanistic Experience Spring Initiation Rites Summary Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Professor John P. Miller Motif: Eternal Index Banksy Han Meilin Bruce Radke Christian Tuki Gordon Ellis-Brown Site Map Search the Website Glossary of Terms & Definition Podcast on iTunes Other Websites Contact the Foundation