Mark Adams

13.11.00. Hinemihi interior. Clandon Park Surrey, England Nga Toanga: Wero Taroi, Tene Waitere
1330 x 1065 mm
C-type print from 10 x 8 inch C41 negative (2000)
Edition 4 of 7
Signed, dated and titled on verso
Courtesy of the artist and Two Rooms, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland

Mark Adams has generously offered to donate the entire proceeds of the sale of his work towards the completion of our basement facilities. Ngā mihi maioha Mark.

Estimate: NZD 11,000 — 15,000

Bidding has closed - thank you!

This interior, though familiar to our eyes in Aotearoa, was a long way from home when photographed by Mark Adams in 2000. Hinemihi o Te Ao Tawhito (Hinemihi of the Old World) is a potent symbol of the colonial process. The specificity of her creation, designed to stand at the head of the famed Pink and White Terraces, and her haerenga or journey to the UK as a form of souvenir is the stuff of legend.

This image is part of a wider suite that documents all of the carved mahi toi of the great Ngāti Tarawhai carver Tene Waitere. Waitere himself was adept at navigating Māori and Pākehā worlds. Hinemihi speaks to a period in the early 1880s when iwi, in this case Tūhourangi, were confronting a rapidly changing reality, one that this Whare Whakairo has been witness to for over 140 years.

This work was recently exhibited in Hinemihi: Te Hokinga - The Return at Two Rooms, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (24 July — 29 August, 2020). It was illustrated on page 105 in Hinemihi: Te Hokinga - The Return, authored by Hamish Coney with Dr.Keri-Anne Wikitera, Jim Schuster, Lyonel Grant and Mark Adams, published by Rim Publications (2020), and on page 77 in Rauru: Tene Waitere, Maori Carving, Colonial History authored by Nicholas Thomas with Mark Adams, Jim Schuster and Lyonel Grant (2009).

Artist Biography & History
with Artspace Aotearoa:


Free New Zealand Art (group), 16 March — 16 April 2005, curated by Tobias Berger

Curiosity Killed The Gap (group), 21 November — 20 December 2003, curated by Tobias Berger

Mark Adams


Mark Adams (Born 1949 in Ōtautahi Christchurch) is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most distinguished photographers. Since the 1970’s, Adams has worked with large-format cameras to produce images of significant sites across Aotearoa New Zealand. His widely acclaimed photographs focus on places of cultural, ecological and historic significance. His practice operates in the bi-cultural space between Te Ao Māori and Te Ao Pākehā. His photographs have been exhibited at leading galleries and major biennials throughout Aotearoa New Zealand and the world including Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki; Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna Waiwhetu; Govett Brewster Art Gallery and the Queensland Art Gallery. In 2018, Adams’ photographs were exhibited at the landmark exhibition Oceania at the Royal Academy, London. Mark Adams is represented by Two Rooms, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

Hinemihi o Te Ao Tawhito by Hamish Coney, 2021

Hinemihi o Te Ao Tawhito, Hinemihi of the Old World, stood for over 130 years in the grounds of the British National Trust property Clandon Park. Acquired in the early 1890s by the then Governor of Aotearoa, Lord Onslow, Hinemihi has become, over the years, a site of pilgrimage for original iwi of Te Arawa, New Zealand visitors and a locus of whanaungatanga for Ngāti Rānana, iwi based in the United Kingdom.

Hinemihi is also one of the great carved houses from the hands of two great tohunga whakairo, Wero Tāroi ( 1810 - d. 1880) and Tene Waitere (b.1854 - d.1931) of Ngāti Tarawhai whose tribal lands surround the Lakes of Okataina and Rotoiti, east and south of Rotorua.

Commissioned by the Tūhourangi chief Aporo Te Wharekāniwha ( 1810 - d. 1886) in 1880, Hinemihi originally stood in the village of Te Wairoa, the original staging point for tourists to visit the famed Pink and White Terraces. The eruption of Mount Tarawera in 1886, devastated the terraces and the surrounding area and resulted in the perishing of over one hundred people. Over a hundred iwi survived the molten ash by sheltering inside Hinemihi during the eruption, including Waitere and his family.

In late 2019, The National Trust, Heritage New Zealand and iwi represented by the steering group Ngā Kohinga Whakairo o Hinemihi announced the landmark decision that Hinemihi would one day be on the move again, returning to her te Arawa homeland. Another tragedy, the destruction of Clandon Hall by fire in 2014, was a contributing factor to the ultimate decision. Iwi, however, had been campaigning for the return of their ancestress Hinemihi for decades.

In 2000, Mark Adams as part of his ongoing programme to document the complete corpus of whakairo of Tene Waitere, visited Hinemihi in Surrey and created the suite of fifteen images of which this interior forms part.

To celebrate the momentous occasion of Hinemihi’s impending return, the complete suite of Hinemihi images was exhibited for the first time at Two Rooms in July 2020. The occasion was marked by a whakatau at which Ngāti Whātua Orākei welcomed iwi from Rotorua including descendants of Aporo Te Wharekāniwha, Wero Tāroi and Tene Waitere to view these images of their beloved ancestress.

Hinemihi was a Tūhourangi princess, whose guardianship of her people is legendary. She was accompanied on her travels by Kataore, a guardian or tiaki in the form of a tāniwha or lizard, depicted on the central poutokomanawa in the interior of the whare.

Adams’ programme, beginning in the 1970s has covered this terrain of cross-cultural exchange across Aotearoa and also those international locations such as Hamburg and London where pivotal examples of carved mahi toi reside in museums. Adams’ central thesis is to not shy away from the complexities of the colonial experience, but to go into the heart of its physical geography, psychic terrain and at times, unresolved legacies and bear witness to the resonance of this past into the present, or in the case of Hinemihi what may well be a healing future.

In this image of Hinemihi’s interior we are afforded the chance to understand her dramatic life journey and celebrate the concept of whakamanatanga or the sense of fulfilment that we may enjoy on the day of her hokinga or return to her whenua.

NB: Hinemihi’s history and impending future has recently been the subject of a five part series (August — September 2021) on Radio New Zealand’s Te Ahi Kaa presented by producer Justine Murray. Find out more here.