The creation of Whakamīharo Lindauer Online is a long and rich story in itself. It involved both institutional commitment and the support and enthusiasm of the wider community.
In 2003 the Lindauer Art Gallery Māori Visitors Book was
rediscovered in the archives of the Auckland Art Gallery's E.H.
McCormick Research Library. At the time, iwi consultants Vapi
Kupenga and Mere Lodge were seeking permission from descendants to
make the portraits of Māori by Goldie and Lindauer available on the
Gallery's new website. Vapi Kupenga's transcription by iwi of the
comments in the Visitors' Book was sent to descendants, and iwi
groups were invited to come to the Gallery to view the Book. It was
later photographed and a facsimile made for researchers to use,
while the original was put on display in the Gallery. An article
detailing the work of Vapi Kupenga and Mere Lodge was published in
Gallery News in 2004.
The often-emotional response of descendants to the Visitors'
Book, and the enthusiasm shown by researchers signalled the need
for it to be more widely accessible.
In November 2006, Catherine Hammond, Research Librarian, sent
out a call to all Auckland Art Gallery staff asking whether they
would like to be involved in a project to make a website featuring
the Māori portraits of Gottfried Lindauer and the recently
re-discovered visitors' book that accompanied them when they were
Predominantly in te reo, visitors wrote in this book their
responses upon seeing the portraits of their ancestors painted by
Five of us were keen to participate: Catherine, Ngahiraka Mason,
Caroline McBride, Sarah Eades, John McIver and, the then Registrar,
David Reeves. After gaining the approval and support of the
Gallery's Management Team, Ngahiraka and Catherine submitted an
initial proposal to the
Department of Internal Affairs' Community Partnership Fund,
which was offering grants under its Digital Strategy
We were asked to submit a full proposal, which was accepted, and
Catherine and Ngahiraka then completed the much more rigorous
formal application for funding, which involved securing letters of
support and outlining the aims, management, budget and timeline for
We invited Te Taura
Whiri i te Reo Māori - The Māori Language Commission to partner
us by translating the Maori Visitors' Book. In addition, we
were keen to promote the portraits, which now form part of the
Gallery's Partridge Collection, and to invite other public
institutions to contribute their portraits to the site.
In mid-2007, we learnt that our full application had been
successful and by April 2008, the funding agreement had been
signed. The Auckland Art Gallery matched in kind the sum
given by the Department, and Te Taura Whiri was formally made our
Our first administrative task was to appoint a steering
group. The Gallery's Manager, Collections and Exhibitions
Services, Catherine Lomas; Mere Lodge, iwi consultant; and Rod
Moody, Auckland City ITC consultant have performed this role
throughout the Project guiding the Team and offering suggestions
and encouragement as well as practical help.
Sarah Eades and Caroline McBride jointly applied for the role of
Project Manager and held this day-a-week position from July 2008
until March 2010.
Te Taura Whiri began the task of transcribing and translating
the more than 300 page Visitors' Book, which Gallery staff had
conserved and digitally photographed.
The Team developed protocols for ourselves and as a guide for
our contributing museum partners on digital photography and iwi
As with the Gallery's website, we sought iwi permission from the
descendants of the portrait sitters, to include images on
this site. Prior to the commencement of the Project,
we were asked to show evidence of community support in this way and
we have continued to engage in this process. Mere has worked
tirelessly, explaining the project and reassuring descendants that
this is an educational and not a commercial site.
Ngahiraka and Caroline carried out research at the Alexander
Turnbull Library in Wellington and were able to unearth many
documents relating to 'our' sitters. We have also mined the
Turnbull's wonderful collection of images to illustrate our sitter
texts and the related essays that we commissioned from interested
academics and professionals.
Māori portraits by Lindauer began to be submitted by other
museums. To date we have received contributions from The
Suter; the National Library of Australia; the Sarjeant Gallery;
Christchurch Art Gallery and Te Papa Tongarewa.
With the content coming together well, we now sought a website
company. After due process and keen competition, in July
2009, we engaged Terabyte as our designers.
Sarah was inspired and moved by the filmed interviews of the
Doig River people of Canada and suggested that we might try
something similar. Ngahiraka, Mere and young filmmaker,
Dennis Gedye, have worked with a number of the sitters' descendants
to produce the interviews you can now access on the site.
Te Haumihiata Mason and Hohepa MacDougall presented the Team
with the translated Visitors' Book giving us even more than we had
asked for so that now we have both a faithful transcription of the
words as written in te reo but also a translation into the reo of
For the last year we have continued to work on the Project:
holding fortnightly meetings; submitting reports to our funders;
giving presentations; meeting with descendants; working with a
talented intern on the historic Partridge correspondence; editing
and indexing the Visitors' Book and collaborating with Terabyte to
present the website as you now see it. We hope that by
providing a variety of means, users will contribute their stories,
comments and feedback. Our primary aim has been to provide a
site for the community and we hope that we have achieved this.
Caroline McBride, Research Librarian, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o