Is it just a story?

Although the author only intended on viewing the original James Barry painting of Hongi, Waikato and Thomas Kendall when he visited the National Library of New Zealand in April 2022; he was also presented with the opportunity to view the original 1827 Augustus Earle painting or an injured Hongi Hika in Kororareka. After examining this painting, the author noticed an object in the image that according to legend, shouldn't be there.


The purakau surrounding Hongi Hika selling or swapping the gifts he received from the King, in Sydney, for a large cache of firearms may prove to be 'just a story' after all. As the author has had access to original and relevant records from the Georgian Papers Programme at the Royal Archives, (having personally sighted them in the Queen's Apartments at Windsor Castle in October 2019); he noticed that there was an object in the painting, which, if the story about Hongi selling or swapping his gifts for guns was true - challenges this theory. The actual item will be mentioned in the author's presentations/workshops and within his soon-to-be-published research paper Hongi's Kakahu: Rangatira to Royalty.


The author would like to acknowledge and thank the National Library of New Zealand, especially Chris Szekely, Oliver Stead, and Paul Diamond; for their manakitanga and assistance with his Hongi's Hikoi kaupapa.

The original painting of Hongi Hika, Waikato, and Thomas Kendall, painted by James Barry whilst the three men were in England in 1820.

The original painting of an injured Hongi Hika, by Augustus Earle (1827).

A digital copy of the Augustus Earle painting (to show the image with more clarity).

An extremely interesting item, which may challenge a popular legend or misconception.

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