July 27, 2018
Mystery Atay returns to Otargo
A Otago rangatira, or rather a drawing of him, will be welcomed to the University of Otago’s Hocken Library this afternoon.
The portrait marked Atay, Chief of Otargo (sic) was drawn in Sydney in 1835 by German artist Charles Rodius.
It was bought at an auction for $158,000.
Matiu Workman, the university’s Maori communications advisor, says many Maori lived in Sydney at the time or visited to trade.
"Atay in this picture is quite a youthful-looking chief and to have a full taa moko as he does, according to the Hocken and other groups, indicates a really strong sense of mana within this chief so it's amazing it's been able to be brought back to Otago this afternoon," he says.
The Hocken is working with Ngai Tahu to identify who Atay may have been.
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