14 May 2021

Musket withdrawn from auction over concerns of authenticity

From First Up, 5:51 am on 14 May 2021

A Ngapuhi leader met with Webb's Auction House last night to try and secure the return of a musket purported to belong to chief Hongi Hika, which had been due to go under the hammer on Monday. Webb's withdrew the auction after First Up revealed concerns about its authenticity and how it was obtained. The musket, which was gifted to Hika by King George the IV and may have even been present at the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, was expected to fetch more than 100-thousand dollars at auction. But after an outcry about the sale of such an important cultural item, Ngapuhi Runanga chair Wane Wharerau met with Webb's Managers last night in a bid to have the musket returned to the iwi. Mr Wharerau spoke with our reporter Ella Stewart about how the negotiation went. Meanwhile, a direct descendent of Hongi Hika, Haami Piripi, told Ella Stewart there's a strong desire for the musket to be returned to the iwi, if it is indeed Hika's gun.