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Maori figurehead from AKARANA

Date: c 1887
Dimensions:
Overall: 375 × 287 mm, 1.35 kg
Medium: Kauri, mahogany, paint, glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Arthur Goard
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Object Name: Figurehead
Object No: 00000904
Place Manufactured:Auckland
Related Place:New Zealand,

User Terms

    Description
    This yacht's figurehead from the gaff-cutter yacht AKARANA, built in Auckland, New Zealand 1888, depicts the head of a Maori woman. The yacht and then the figurehead belonged to the Abraham and Leigh families in Sydney in the 1890s and in the 1930s. The figurehead was removed from the yacht by its owners either in the late 19th century or in the 1920s. It was transformed into a wall ornament as a family souvenir and mounted onto a piece of mahogany backboard with decorative plaster scrolls and a poem inscribed on the back. The woman appears to have Ta moko skin markings or Kirituhi tattoos on her chin.
    SignificanceThis figurehead is from the 1888 built yacht AKARANA, which reveals its strong New Zealand origins through its name - 'Akarana' is the Maori transliteration of the English place name 'Auckland'. It is significant because of the carved representation of a traditional Maori woman's head, which appears to have ceremonial Ta moko skin markings or Kirituhi tattoos on the chin.
    HistoryAKARANA was built in Auckland, New Zealand in 1888 by Robert Logan, an established boat builder in 19th century New Zealand. It was primarily built as a racing yacht and its name derived from the Maori transliteration of the English place name 'Auckland'. AKARANA was shipped by Logan to Melbourne specifically for the 1888 Centennial International Regatta to be held late in that year. In the Melbourne regatta AKARANA won a lead up event and then one of the feature races on the programme, but fared poorly in another two races when the gear failed early on each time. It then came to Sydney for the Anniversary Regatta in 1889, and won the race for its class on handicap.

    Logan then sold the boat in Sydney but the new owner and other subsequent owners used the AKARANA mainly for cruising. It was well known on Sydney Harbour and Broken Bay, and sailed up the Hawkesbury River toward Windsor on one expedition.

    Over many years AKARANA underwent a number of changes to its keel, rig and layout. After having numerous owners the AKARANA became neglected in Sydney Harbour up until 1987 and the New Zealand Government purchased the yacht. They funded a major restoration project and AKARANA became a Bi-Centennial gift from New Zealand to Australia in 1988.

    The poem on the figurehead's backboard reads:

    'Ah! Dear old face what memories sweet
    You now to me recall
    The splashing wave, the briny deep
    Mid pleasures dear to all
    When hearts were young and spirits high
    And care beyond our ken
    We passed the happy days gone by
    With many a loved friend
    Ah! Yes indeed you do recall
    Scenes from our own life Drama
    With many a comedy between you 'Dear old friend Akarana'
    Best regards from G. G

    Previous owners of AKARANA:

    John S Abraham, 1889-1899

    Calveley C McEwen, 1899-1901

    Charles H Relph, 1901-1902

    Kenneth I Love, 1902-1907

    George Robinson, 1907-1909

    James A Ingham, 1909-1910

    Frederick R Poole, 1910-1913

    Charles DW Wray, 1913-1915

    Frank O Day, 1915

    Henry V Carr, 1915

    Henry C Pritchard, 1916

    Jack, Mim and Roy Leigh, 1916-1938

    Gordon Butcher, 1938-circa1942

    Bill Gardiner, circa 1942

    John Barber, 1949-1952

    Eddie Kleeson, 1956-1984

    John and Molly Beach, 1956-1984

    Mark and Wendy Smith, 1984-1987

    Andrew Bishop, 1987-1988

    New Zealand Government, 1988


    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Maori-Figurenkopf von AKARANA

    Assigned title: Maori boegbeeld van AKARANA

    Web title: Maori figurehead from AKARANA

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