Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tōtanga
This month we feature another beautiful watercolour by William Fox, featuring Kehu in the act of snaring a weka.
Entitled 'In the Matukituki Valley', the painting depicts a makeshift open-fronted slab hut, with a small fire burning outside. The two men ‘reclining’, or more accurately, ‘prostrate in a state of hunger and exhaustion’ are none other than the intrepid explorers, Brunner and Heaphy. The Matakitaki River and hills are in the background.
The original painting is held by the Alexander Turnbull Library and is another example of how a variety of materials, from a range of archival sources, were used to illustrate the connections between Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō and our whenua. Kehu’s knowledge of bushcraft and the myriad tracks and trails were what enabled Heaphy and Brunner to successfully explore the lands of Te Tauihu and the West Coast. Without Kehu the explorers would not have survived.