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  • Writer's pictureBrent Kerehona Pukepuke-Ahitapu

Hongi holds King's court, again

Updated: 5 days ago

On January 15th, at the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, the author presented a historical lecture based on Hongi Hika's 1820 journey to, and experiences in, England.

Hongi had met King George IV at Carlton House (King George's royal residence) in London in November 1820, exchanged pleasantries, and gifts, and was taken on a tour of the Royal Arsenal, the Royal Menagerie, and the Tower of London.

We were fortunate to have Hongi with us on the day, in the form of a carved wooden bust in his likeness, which was carved by Hongi himself - the first Maori selfie.

It was a pleasure sharing Hongi's story with interested people, in King George IV's old palace, and ensuring that the museum staff now see him as a person, and not simply as an artefact.

I would like to acknowledge and thank Portia Tremlett - Curator of World Art, Jenny Ridland - Creative Programming/Gallery Explainer, Sandra Bauza - Assistant Curator, of the Brighton & Hove Museum, and the Royal Pavilion, as well as Matua Simpson - Ngati Ranana kaumatua (elder); for their tautoko (support) and manaakitanga (hospitality).

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