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Wednesday, 22 May 2019 06:54 am

Kuia’s photo returned – after half a century

May 20th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Lead Story, News

AT HOME: Hariata Haumate with the photo of Mira Haumate.

A PHOTO of a kuia has been given back to her Lower Hutt family, 51 years after it was taken.

The photo is one of two owned by Alister Grant, whose family decided to return them while sorting his possessions after he moved into a retirement home.

“She’s my husband’s stepmother. She was much younger then,” said Hariata Haumate, after being given the photo this week.

The photo is of Mira Haumate, incorrectly identified on the back as Mira Mika, and was taken by Mr Grant at the opening of Waiwhetu Marae in 1960.

Photos of Mira Haumate have also featured in the book The Blue Privilege: The Last Tattooed Maori Women, by Harry Sangl.

Leith Wallace, Mr Grant’s daughter, saw the moko kauae depicted, and thought they should be given to their rightful owners given their tapu nature.

“It’s also a matter of respect. If it was of my grandmother, I’d want it returned to me,” said Ms Wallace.

She sent the photos to Te Papa for identification, and was assisted by Hema Temara of the museum’s iwi relationships team.

SEARCHING: The photo of Waikohai Henare, still to be returned to her family.

One of the frames was damaged in transit, and was reframed and glazed by Te Papa staff, who also performed a karakia over them.

Ms Temara identified both photos and provided Ms Wallace with contact details for Ms Haumate, who was very pleased to receive the photo.

The other photo shows a kuia identified on the back as Waikohai Henare, and was taken by her granddaughter during Christmas of 1965.

Mrs Henare is believed to come from Torere in the Bay of Plenty and to have family in the area.

Ms Wallace says she will continue to search for the family to return the photo.

Anyone  who knows the family of Waikohai Henare can contact Ms Wallace on 021 111 9675 or 04 384 3128.

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