National | Aotearoa

Gottfried Lindauer's spiritual homecoming

A contingent of descendants of the Māori chiefs painted by Gottfried Lindauer over the years has arrived in his hometown of Pilsen, Czech Republic for his spiritual homecoming.

In Europe, Lindauer’s collection has never before been exposed whereas in Aotearoa he is one of the most popular artists of the colonial periods. Now in an exhibition dedicated to the painter, his achievements will be shared with his people and European Capital of Culture 2015.

Ngahiraka Mason from the Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki says it's a new concept for them to grasp returning to their homeland in this fashion and its awesome that it has been realised.

His artworks have been housed in the Auckland Art Gallery and New Zealand’s Te Papa Tongarewa and since November last year the 48 Māori portraits have been exhibited in Berlin, Germany and now Pilsen.

The exhibitions will mark the first departure of these works from New Zealand's shores since they were painted over 100 years ago.

Peter Lindauer, a mokopuna of the artist couldn't control his emotions at the ceremony, "it was too much, and when the elders are going, well, i just couldn't handle it, the tears were pouring out".

Media were given an early preview of the exhibition, taking local Czech reporter Lada Peskova by surprise, "I'm speechless it's stunning it's beautiful I really can't thank you enough that you let us have this exhibition it's beautiful"

As part of the opening festivities of the landmark exhibition, Ngāti Rānana will perform in the town centre to the public.