Rhonye McIlroy - paintings

Award-winning Canterbury artist Rhonye McIlroy is a direct descendant of Betty Guard, the first European woman resident in the South Island. The Guards' gripping story has a pivotal place in New Zealand history and informs much of McIlroy's current work - she tells the story of her ancestors with her unique paintings.

THE FAREWELL - SOLD

Depicting the final moments Betty Guard and Chief Oaoiti were together before her controversial 'rescue'.

CHIEF OAOITI AND BETTY GUARD - SOLD

Betty Guard and her two children were captured by Maori when the ship Harriet was beached at Taranaki. She narrowly avoided being slain and came under the protection of Chief Oaoiti. She lived with him as a 'wife' for several months, and the two came to love one another. However, Oaoiti was killed during Betty's subsequent rescue amid the first armed intervention on NZ soil by British troops, circa 1834.

RECONCILIATION

The first imagined interaction in 1769 between James Cook and his crew, and the Maori of Tuuranganui-a-Kiwa (Poverty Bay).  Two cultures, on the face of it so foreign to one another,  yet reconciling their differences by swapping clothing and  mimicking poses. As such, it offers a range of challenges to the traditions of both cultures.

‘CONFLICT’

An encounter between Captain Cook and crew, and Maori from Tuuranganui-a-Kiwa (Poverty Bay). Posing for a group portrait, a minor boredom-based scuffle is about to break out. Centre stage, the warrior chief and Cook ponder the folly of human behaviour.

THE BIRTH OF JOHN GUARD

When Betty Guard, then just 16 years old, gave birth to John in 1831 he was the first Pakeha child born in the South Island.

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