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Taruia e tana vaka tuteretere

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Taruia, a descendant of Te Erui, was an Ariki (king) at the time of Ruatapu’s arrival. Ruatapu who was the son of the paramount chief of Taputapuatea (Raiatea) and was a master navigator who would have been ‘enlightened’ with the training available to the son of a high chief. One particular skill was the ability to manufacture toys from plants.

Upon Ruatapu’s arrival, he chose to stay hidden and observe the local population, working out his best opportunity. Doing this he was able to identify the young chief Taruia and the area where he would bathe and maybe play in the water.

Ruatapu decided to create toys from coconut fronds and leave them to be discovered by the young chief at the beach. Arriving for his swim, Taruia was absolutely fascinated by the organic curiosities and sought as to who made them. At this Ruatapu presented himself and a friendship was immediately struck up between the pair.

Ruatapu later tricked Taruia which resulted in the former staking a claim to Taruia’s title (further details for another painting) This painting depicts Taruia who is hypnotised with excitement by a coconut leaf canoe made by Ruatapu.

Materials: Stretched Canvas, Oil paint, varnish.
Size: 36 x 24
Date: 2021

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