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Tooi, or Tuai as it should be, lived from c.1797 to 1824 and was a Maori student at the Paramatta Seminary in New South Wales for 18 months before he sailed for England on HMS Kangaroo in 1817, accompanied by Teeterree, or Titere, another member of the Ngaphi tribe. Their journey had been arranged by the Rev. Samuel Marsden, a man who has been called the St Augustine of New Zealand. Quite literally a muscular christian, a sturdily built son of a Yorkshire blacksmith who had been persuaded to cut short his studies at Cambridge to carry the gospel to the colonies, Marsden was a man whose missionary zeal and considerable achievements in New South Wales and New Zealand were somewhat tainted by a reputation as a flogging magistrate, and
accusations, unproven, that he was occasiuonally more concerned with trading with the Maoris than converting them.

However, while it was easy enough to find out any number of things about Marsden, the fate of Tuai and Titere was much more elusive.

Such references as I did find in a quick online search suggested that they spent only a year in England and later put their English lessons to good use in helping create a vocabulary of their own language. I daresay that far more could be found, given time and access to New Zealand records, but while the auctioneers record the fact that two oil portraits of the men, commissioned by the Church Missionary Society from James Barry, now hang in the Alexander Turnbull Library in in the National Library of New Zealand, James Barry, the artist responsible for these two silhouettes, must for the present remain a mystery.
Buyer’s premium: 15 per cent