Page 26
 Morepork, ruru; Tuatara (Sphenodon punctatus).

The tuatara is not 'a large lizard'. It's a reptile descendent of a line that flourished around 200 million years ago. However, given the magnitude of this disaster, I let the tuatara stand in for the lizard as a symbol of the tapu on the tree on this page.
I put 2 mirages in this painting:
- The gaping cleft of Mount Tarawera, extending its devastation over 65 km as the crow flies, to the forest where Taketakerau stands.
- The 'Waka Wairua'. This phantom war canoe was seen crossing Lake Tarawera towards the sacred mountain 10 days before the eruption, by 2 tourist canoes, packed with visitors and locals. Even before the disaster occurred, this apparition was taken to be a warning of impending death.

Page 27
 Morepork, ruru; Forest gecko (Hoplodactylus granulatus); Sap-eating Elephant weevil, (Rhyncodes ursus).
 Nikau Palm; Bush lawyer, tataramoa (Rubus schmidelioides).

If you think you see spooky faces in this painting, you are right. It's funny how you live in a painting as you work on it. Though in the design stage I had thought of the scene in broad daylight, as I started painting, I realised it had to be fairly dark. It also came to me very strongly that this must have been quite a creepy experience for the farmer - and of course there was still a tapu on the tree at that time. So the spooky faces and claws on the nikaus and the eyes in the bush are deliberate. And I also chose to use bush lawyer with its 'claws' extended at the bottom right to add to the feel of the scene.

Page 28
Here is the Prime Minister of the day, William B Massey - New Zealand's second longest serving Prime Minister. We do not know what he was doing on the day of this event, but I have taken the liberty of rewriting his schedule. He is wearing a formal frock coat and has 2 Parliamentary staff members with him.
The Maori chief wears a ceremonial kiwi feather cloak with taniko border. The Maori ladies are wearing korowai cloaks woven from the fibre of the harakeke (NZ Flax), and chaplets made from leaves of the Karaka tree (Corynocarpus laevigatus).
You will notice that in this painting, the races are mingled, and this was a deliberate choice I made, to reflect the author's wish that Maori and pakeha be shown gathering together, and also to convey a message for us all.

Page 29
 Corokia, korokio (Corokia buddleioides); Rewarewa, New Zealand honeysuckle (Knightia excelsa).
 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost 19061926.

I hope this painting reflects the traditions of the day (about 1913/14), when men opened doors for women, and children did as they were told. :-)

Page 30
 NZ Falcon, karearea (Falco novaeseelandiae) male and female. The male has his talons out, to display the orange underparts and legs.

From a very small child I've loved scale models of landscapes, maps, and later, the views of the surrounding countryside looking down from 'the tops'. The opportunity to bring an aerial view of the Urewera National Park ('Land of the Mist') into this book was too good to pass up.

Page 31
 Tawa (Beilschmiedia tawa); Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea).

Thanks to a great deal of topographical input from the author, I think this has ended up pretty well representing the lie of the land below the domain where Taketakerau stands, with the Waioeka River, and the main road in the distance - plus the topdressing plane!

Page 32
 Laughing Owl, whekau - extinct 1914; Haasts eagle - extinct 1300-1400: North Island giant moa representing 14 species of moa - all extinct 1300-1400; Huia - extinct 1907; Piopio, NZ thrush (North Island) representing 2 species - both extinct 1900 and 1905; New Zealand Wrens (Acanthisittidae) 6 species - 4 extinct 1888-1972; North Island goose (Cnemiornis gracilis) and South Island goose (Cnemiornis calcitrans) - both extinct 1300-1400; New Zealand Swan - extinct.

Page 33
 Pepper tree, kawakawa (Macropiper excelsum) a plant of many healing properties, for both internal and external application.
 Kawakawa Looper moth (Cleora scriptaria) - its caterpillars are responsible for the shotholes commonly seen in kawakawa leaves.

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The Paintings, Artist's Notes and The Shop

Paintings Feb/Sept 2011

Acrylic on board size 15" x 20".
(382 x 510)


Shop Open 2013

Posters, prints and other products.


About Feb/Sept 2011

About the Artist and the story of the Book.