Māori artefacts go up for auction in UK

2:11 pm on 22 September 2017

A collection of Māori artefacts shipped to England in 1837 are being put up for auction in Surrey.

Māori artefacts, which will be auctioned off in England next month, include greenstone heitiki, carved fishhooks and rope made of flax.

The artefacts that are up for auction. Photo: Supplied

The Māori artefacts, which will be auctioned off next month, came from the Bay of Islands and include greenstone heitiki, carved fishhooks, rope made of flax and a letter written by one of the first missionaries to settle in New Zealand.

Each individual heitiki is estimated to be worth about £5000 - £6000, ($NZ9300 - $NZ11,100) and the assortment of Māori fishhooks and lures are together expected to fetch up to £20,000 ($NZ37,200).

Art researcher Ivan Macquisten said the collection, and the letter in particular, were important pieces of heritage.

"It isn't just a letter from some guy, it's a letter from Phillip Hansen King who is effectively one of the founding fathers of New Zealand.

"I've been in this industry for about 20 years and I have never come across in my entire career a better provenance for items in anything, let alone just this field."

Mr King came to New Zealand with his father John King, who was also a missionary, in 1812.

Mr Macquisten said there were historic documents showing Phillip Hansen King purchased land at Te Puna Bay in the Bay of Islands in 1834 off Māori.

The land was purchased in exchange for four blankets, two iron pots, four pounds of tobacco, and two dozen pipes.

Mr Macquisten said the letter not only depicted the contents of the package he sent back to England, but also outlined the way of life in Te Puna Bay and what he believed to be a civil war between Māori.

Mr Macquisten said the new items were already attracting some of the top collectors around the world.

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