Historical paintings gifted to Puke Ariki marking Taranaki Anniversary

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Historical paintings gifted to Puke Ariki marking Taranaki Anniversary

NPDC’s Puke Ariki Museum are delighted to receive two historic watercolour artworks from TSB.

The works, by artists Edwin Harris and John Gully, are for the enjoyment of the local community as well as manuhiri (visitors) to the region.

In the 1860s when John Gully and Edwin Harris were picking up their paintbrushes to capture Taranaki, TSB was already a fixture in the town, servicing its loyal customers daily. More than 160 years later, both the paintings and the bank have stood the test of time.

The two original artworks were purchased by TSB to protect them from private ownership, and ensure future generations can enjoy the snapshots of local history.

The 1868 watercolour painting by John Gully, titled Mount Taranaki [Egmont], was bought in 1999 from the New Zealand Founders Society and showcases the mounga from a site believed to be Koru Road, Taranaki.

The 1860 Edwin Harris watercolour painting, titled ‘New Plymouth Under Siege’, has been described as ‘rare and significant’ and depicts women and children climbing Marsland Hill to take refuge as the 40th regiment troops march through early New Plymouth.

Puke Ariki Museum  Manager Colleen Mullins says, “Puke Ariki is thrilled to accept these important paintings into the collection. They add depth to our existing collection of work by Edwin Harris and John Gully, who were both well-respected artists and public figures in Taranaki during a time of significant social and environmental change, and I’m sure that this generous gift from TSB will be valued by generations to come.”

“We’re delighted to be able to mark the 2022 Taranaki Anniversary with these historical gifts to our community,” TSB CEO Donna Cooper says. “TSB is owned by a philanthropic organisation, so giving back to the community is at our core.

“Incredibly, both these watercolour paintings are as old as TSB itself and there is a strong tie to the roots of the local community.”

Due to their sensitivity to light, public access to the paintings will be carefully managed. However, they will be available to view online here from the end of March.

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Puke Ariki Fast Facts:

  • It first opened on 15 June 2003 and is the world’s first purpose-built, fully integrated museum, library and visitor information centre.
  • Puke Ariki Museum is free entry and open daily 10am – 5pm (closed only for Christmas Day).
  • Puke Ariki has three long-term galleries (Te Takapou Whāriki, Taranaki Naturally and Taranaki Life) and components of these get changed out regularly.
  • There are currently two exhibitions on show – Map It! and Zeal.
  • Te Pua Wānanga O Taranaki/Taranaki Research Centre is also housed at the site.