These artworks here name some of the items exchanged by the New Zealand Company for Te Ātiawa land in Pōneke.
Wayne Youle has made a poster for each item on the list. The full list was widely published in newspapers at the time. Would you like to hear it?
100 red blankets, 100 muskets, 2 tierces tobacco, 40 iron pots, 2 cases soap, 15 fowling pieces, 21 kegs powder, 1 cask ball cartridges, 1 keg lead slabs, 100 cartouche boxes, 100 tomahawks, 40 pipe tomahawks, 1 case pipes, 24 spades, 50 steel axes …
OK, so this is quite a long list …
1200 fish hooks, 12 bullet moulds, 12 dozen shirts, 20 jackets, 20 pair trousers, 60 red nightcaps …
OK, what else …
Shirts, jackets, trousers, 60 red nightcaps, cotton, calico, check, handkerchiefs, slates, pencils, scissors, shoes, umbrellas, hats, beads, ribbons. 1 gross Jew's harps, 1 dozen razors, 16 dozen dressing combs, 6 dozen hoes, 2 suits of superfine clothes, 2 dozen shaving boxes and brushes, 20 muskets, 2 dozen adzes, and 1 dozen sticks of sealing wax.
Total value of 269 pounds, 14 shillings, and 10 pence. What exactly did Wakefield (the New Zealand Company agent) get for it?
For its part, the Company believed it now possessed all the land between the south coast and the Tararua Range, as well as the islands in the harbour and part of inland Porirua.
OK, so maybe not such a long list after all. It certainly didn’t reflect the intrinsic value of the land – whether you’re Māori or tauiwi (non-Māori).
One thing this work does make you think about is how all landscape paintings are in some way about the value of land.
Individual perceptions of that value, shaped by culture and history, are captured in each brushstroke.