Wall panel / poupou

24.9.89.1

About this object

One of the worst hit galleries was the Pacific Room. As the photograph (see below) shows it was completely destroyed on 3 May 1941. This gallery was in the basement and museum staff thought it would be safe from the air raids above. The gallery was packed with boxes filled with objects and archives from other parts of the museum and the important Pacific collection was divided into two lots for safety. All of it was destroyed.

As many of the museum’s records were also destroyed we still do not know the full extent of what was lost that night. A rare survivor is a postcard that shows a finely carved Maori poupou or wall panel from New Zealand that was in the museum’s collection and on display that night. This object along with many others was burnt up in the Pacific Room fire.

Object specifics

  • Type
    Architecture
  • Culture
    Maori
  • Artist/Maker
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Place made
    Oceania: Polynesia: New Zealand: North Island: Waikato: Waihi
  • Date made
    1889 before
  • Materials
    Wood
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Unknown or unrecorded
  • Collector
    E Osborne Williams
  • Place collected
    Oceania: Polynesia: New Zealand: North Island: Waikato: Waihi
  • Date collected
    1889 before
  • Measurements
    unknown
  • Note
    This poupou was destroyed during the bombings of the 3 May 1941, but a postcard of the poupou survived and has since been accessioned in its own right (see LIV.2010.132.25). A letter in the museum archive notes, "Door of the house of Te Heuheu at Waihi [southern end of Lake Taupo] presented by his grandson to E. Loffley [proprieter of Sp Hotel, Taupo] of Tapapa who sold it to E. Osborne Williams'.
  • Related people
    E Osborne Williams (Collector)
Object view = Humanities
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