Showing posts from May, 2014

Ōrākau: Ka Maumahara Tonu Tātou

Guest Blog by Paul Diamond  More than 90 years after they were first published, James Cowan’s accounts of the New Zealand Wars [1] continue to resonate.   The wars, and Cowan’s role as a chronicler, were key themes of Borderland [2] , an exhibition in the Turnbull Gallery curated by my colleague Ariana Tikao.   One wall of the gallery space was devoted to Ōrākau, the site of the iconic 1864 battle [3] and where Cowan’s family farmed from 1870. View of the Borderland exhibition in the Turnbull Gallery.   Photo: Mark Beatty. As Ariana noted in her exhibition text, Cowan believed the shared experience of these wars brought Māori and Pākehā closer together.   This theme was echoed in a tribute written by Prime Minister Peter Fraser after Cowan’s death: ‘He taught the larger lesson of mutual understanding; he saw the two cultures, Maori and Pakeha, meet and clash; he had a profound knowledge of the dignity and beauty of both, and his life was dedicated to their fusion’