Hemi Pomara

Hemi Pomara: 
How we uncovered the oldest surviving photograph of a Māori

It is little wonder the life of Hemi Pomara has attracted the attention of writers and film makers. Kidnapped in the early 1840s, passed from person to person, displayed in London and ultimately abandoned, it is a story of indigenous survival and resilience for our times.

Hemi has already been the basis for the character James Pōneke in New Zealand author Tina Makereti’s 2018 novel The Imaginary Lives of James Pōneke. And last week, celebrated New Zealand director Taika Waititi announced his production company Piki Films is adapting the book for the big screen – one of three forthcoming projects about colonisation with “indigenous voices at the centre”.

Until now, though, we have only been able to see Hemi’s young face in an embellished watercolour portrait made by the impresario artist George French Angas, or in a stiff woodcut reproduced in the Illustrated London News.

Drawing on the research for our forthcoming book, Empire, Early Photography and Spectacle: the global career of showman daguerreotypist J.W. Newland (Routledge, November 2020), we can now add the discovery of a previously unknown photograph of Hemi Pomara posing in London in 1846.

This remarkable daguerreotype shows a wistful young man, far from home, wearing the traditional korowai (cloak) of his chiefly rank. It was almost certainly made by Antoine Claudet, one of the most important figures in the history of early photography.

All the evidence now suggests the image is not only the oldest surviving photograph of Hemi, but also most probably the oldest surviving photographic portrait of any Māori person. Until now, a portrait of Caroline and Sarah Barrett taken around 1853 was thought to be the oldest such image.

For decades this unique image has sat unattributed in the National Library of Australia. It is now time to connect it with the other portraits of Hemi, his biography and the wider conversation about indigenous lives during the imperial age.


‘Hemi Pomare’, 1846, cased, colour applied, quarter-plate daguerreotype, likely the oldest surviving photographic image of a Māori.

A boy abroad

Hemi Pomara led an extraordinary life. Born around 1830, he was the grandson of the chief Pomara from the remote Chatham Islands off the east coast of New Zealand. After his family was murdered during his childhood by an invading Māori group, Hemi was seized by a British trader who brought him to Sydney in the early 1840s and placed him in an English boarding school.

The British itinerant artist, George French Angas had travelled through New Zealand for three months in 1844, completing sketches and watercolours and plundering cultural artefacts. His next stop was Sydney where he encountered Hemi and took “guardianship” of him while giving illustrated lectures across New South Wales and South Australia.

Angas painted Hemi for the expanded version of this lecture series, Illustrations of the Natives and Scenery of Australia and New Zealand together with 300 portraits from life of the principal Chiefs, with their Families.

In this full-length depiction, the young man appears doe-eyed and cheerful. Hemi’s juvenile form is almost entirely shrouded in a white, elaborately trimmed korowai befitting his chiefly ancestry.

The collar of a white shirt, the cuffs of white pants and neat black shoes peak out from the otherwise enveloping garment. Hemi is portrayed as an idealised colonial subject, civilised yet innocent, regal yet complacent.

Angas travelled back to London in early 1846, taking with him his collection of artworks, plundered artefacts – and Hemi Pomara.

Hemi appeared at the British and Foreign Institution, followed by a private audience with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. From April 1846, he was put on display in his chiefly attire as a living tableau in front of Angas’s watercolours and alongside ethnographic material at the Egyptian Hall, London.

The Egyptian Hall “exhibition” was applauded by the London Spectator as the “most interesting” of the season, and Hemi’s portrait was engraved for the Illustrated London News. Here the slightly older-looking Hemi appears with darkly shaded skin and stands stiffly with a ceremonial staff, a large ornamental tiki around his neck and an upright, feathered headdress.


An idealised colonial subject: George French Angas, ‘Hemi, grandson of Pomara, Chief of the Chatham Islands’, 1844-1846, watercolour.

A photographic pioneer

Hemi was also presented at a Royal Society meeting which, as The Times recorded on April 6, was attended by scores of people including Charles Dickens, Charles Darwin, and the pioneering London-based French daguerreotypist Antoine Claudet.

It was around this time Claudet probably made the quarter-plate daguerreotype, expertly tinted with colour, of Hemi Pomara in costume.

The daguerreotype was purchased in the 1960s by the pioneering Australian photo historian and advocate for the National Library of Australia’s photography collections, Eric Keast Burke. Although digitised, it has only been partially catalogued and has evaded attribution until now.

Unusually for photographic portraits of this period, Hemi is shown standing full-length, allowing him to model all the features of his korowai. He poses amidst the accoutrements of a metropolitan portrait studio. However, the horizontal line running across the middle of the portrait suggests the daguerreotype was taken against a panelled wall rather than a studio backdrop, possibly at the Royal Society meeting.

Hemi has grown since Angas’s watercolour but the trim at the hem of the korowai is recognisable as the same garment worn in the earlier painting. Its speckled underside also reveals it as the one in the Illustrated London News engraving.

Hemi wears a kuru pounamu (greenstone ear pendant) of considerable value and again indicative of his chiefly status. He holds a patu onewa (short-handled weapon) close to his body and a feathered headdress fans out from underneath his hair.

We closely examined the delicate image, the polished silver plate on which it was photographically formed, and the leatherette case in which it was placed. The daguerreotype has been expertly colour-tinted to accentuate the embroidered edge of the korowai, in the same deep crimson shade it was coloured in Angas’s watercolour.

The remainder of the korowai is subtly coloured with a tan tint. Hemi’s face and hands have a modest amount of skin tone colour applied. Very few practitioners outside Claudet’s studio would have tinted daguerreotypes to this level of realism during photography’s first decade.

Hallmarks stamped into the back of the plate show it was manufactured in England in the mid-1840s. The type of case and mat indicates it was unlikely to have been made by any other photographer in London at the time. 


‘New Zealand Youth at Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly’, wood engraving, The Illustrated London News, 18 April 1846.

Survival and resilience
After his brief period as a London “celebrity” Hemi went to sea on the Caleb Angas. He was shipwrecked at Barbados, and on his return aboard the Eliza assaulted by the first mate, who was tried when the ship returned to London. Hemi was transferred into the “care” of Lieutenant Governor Edward John Eyre who chaperoned him back to New Zealand by early December 1846.

Hemi’s story is harder to trace through the historical record after his return to Auckland in early 1847. It’s possible he returned to London as an older married man with his wife and child, and sat for a later carte de visite portrait. But the fact remains, by the age of eighteen he had already been the subject of a suite of colonial portraits made across media and continents.

With the recent urgent debates about how we remember our colonial past, and moves to reclaim indigenous histories, stories such as Hemi Pomara’s are enormously important. They make it clear that even at the height of colonial fetishisation, survival and cultural expression were possible and are still powerfully decipherable today.

For biographers, lives such as Hemi’s can only be excavated by deep and wide-ranging archival research. But much of Hemi’s story still evades official colonial records. As Taika Waititi’s film project suggests, the next layer of interpretation must be driven by indigenous voices.
The authors would like to acknowledge the late Roger Blackley (Victoria University, Wellington), Chanel Clarke (Curator of the Maori collections, Auckland War Memorial Museum), Nat Williams (former Treasures Curator, National Library of Australia), Dr Philip Jones (Senior Curator, South Australian Museum) and Professor Geoffrey Batchen (Professorial chair of History of Art, University of Oxford) for their invaluable help with their research. The Conversation
Elisa deCourcy is an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow 2020-2023 at the Research School of Humanities and the Arts at the Australian National University. Martyn Jolly is Honorary Associate Professor at the School of Art and Design at the Research School of Humanities and the Arts and College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Australian National University.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Oldest surviving photograph of Māori discovered in Australia
Picture of Hemi Pomara posing in London in 1846 was discovered at the national library of Australia by researchers

The oldest surviving photograph of a Māori person has been discovered in the national library of Australia, a historical “scoop” being lauded on both sides of the Tasman.

Hemi Pomara was kidnapped from his home on the Chatham Islands in the early 1840s by British traders, after his family were slaughtered by a rival Māori tribe.

Pomara was sent to school in Australia, before being transported to London and displayed as a “native” of the colonies before the royal family, at the British and Foreign Institution, as well as the Egyptian Hall, where he was a living display.

Previously, the first visual record of Pomara was a faded watercolour, but now researchers at the Australian National University in Canberra have found a photograph of the young Māori man posing in his korowai [chiefly cloak] in London in 1846.

Pomara’s story of survival has inspired generations of Māori writers and film-makers, including Oscar-winning Taika Waititi, who plans to adapt Pomara’s tale for the big screen.

Writing in the Conversation, the ANU researchers say the photograph was “almost certainly” made by Antoine Claudet; one of the most important figures in the history of early photography. Before their discovery, the photograph was unattributed and only partially catalogued in the National Library of Australia.

Martyn Jolly, an honorary associate professor in the school of art and design at the Australian National University, and Elisa deCourcy, also of ANU, are convinced the photograph is Claudet’s as “very few practitioners outside Claudet’s studio would have tinted daguerreotypes to this level of realism during photography’s first decade.”

“All the evidence now suggests the image is not only the oldest surviving photograph of Hemi, but also most probably the oldest surviving photographic portrait of any Māori person.”

Previously, a portrait of Caroline and Sarah Barrett taken around 1853 was thought to be the oldest image of Māori people ever taken.

According to Jolly and deCourcy, the daguerreotype of Pomara was purchased in the 1960s by the Australian photo historian Eric Keast Burke, and found its way into the archives.

“Unusually for photographic portraits of this period, Hemi is shown standing full-length, allowing him to model all the features of his korowai,” the researchers wrote.

“He poses amidst the accoutrements of a metropolitan portrait studio. However, the horizontal line running across the middle of the portrait suggests the daguerreotype was taken against a panelled wall rather than a studio backdrop, possibly at the Royal Society meeting [in London].”

Pomara returned to New Zealand in early 1947, and from here his historical record goes cold, though it is “possible” he returned to London as a married man and father, the researchers say.

“Much of Hemi’s story still evades official colonial records,” the researchers wrote. “As Taika Waititi’s film project suggests, the next layer of interpretation must be driven by indigenous voices.”

 Eleanor Ainge Roy in Queenstown
Published on Tue 30 Jun 2020 06.48 BST

The Marquis of Northampton, as president of the Royal Society, gave the fourth and last of his lordship's conversaziones, this season, at the family residence on the Terrace, Piccadilly. At nine o'clock the saloons of the noble president were resorted to by a very numerous assemblage of the most distinguished literary and scientific members of the various institutions in the metropolis, and by half-past ten the several rooms were crowded to excess. All the apartments were admirably illuminated, and, as usual in the lower dining-room, refreshments were provided in abundance. In the course of the evening much attention was excited by the introduction of Pomare, a New Zealand chief, who accompanied Mr. G. F. Angas to the soiree. The chieftain was attired in the full costume of his native country, and, what was more singular to the intellectual company around him, brought a spear, but a trifle less formidable than the halberts of our royal wardens. Mohun Lai was also present in the characteristic habiliments peculiar to his country.
New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, Volume II, Issue 115, 5 September 1846

Mr. Angas had the honor of submitting drawings in South Australia, New Holland, and New Zealand, on the 3rd April, to the Queen and Prince Albert at Buckingham Palace. Mr. Angas was accompanied by James Pomare, grandson of the chief of the Chatham Isles, New Zealand. —Times, April 4.
Wellington Independent, Volume II, Issue 109, 28 October 1846

Gullability of the English People.
Advertisements and flourishing paragraphs have been going the round of the London Journals, calling upon all the curiosity hunters to visit the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, in order to feast their' eyes with the sight of Mr. G. F. Angas' young New Zealand Chief. This ruse of Mr. Angas (who it will he recollected is the young artist who perambulated some of the districts of this Colony) is probably profitable, but certainly is not very reputable. We happen to know the history of this young man, whom Mr. Angas is palming upon the English public as the son of Pomare. He is a half-caste, the adopted son of Mr. David Scott, by whom he was maintained, and at whose expense he was educated at Sydney. The young lad knows as much about the real character and habits of his mother's race, as the fools who go to see him. He was committed to the care of Mr. Angas we believe, on the understanding that, he was to be taught the profession of an artist. His present occupation is perhaps the initiatory process by which Mr. Angas proposes to fit him for the labors of the easel. "0 tempora, o mores!"
New Zealander, Volume 2, Issue 82, 26 December 1846

Thames — On Saturday, Mr. Richard Mitchell, the chief mate of the ship Eliza, from Barbadoes, appeared before Mr. Ballantine, to answer a charge of assaulting James Pomara, a New Zealand boy, whose history is a very extraordinary one. The case was opened by Mr. Hinde, from the firm of Beddome and Co., solicitors, who said the boy was 15 years old, and grandson of the celebrated New Zealand chief Pomare. His father was killed and eaten in a native fight, and his mother died when he was very young. He reached Sydney in an English ship, after a variety of adventures, and was educated by his guardians. He arrived in England last March, and was taken great notice of by some of the leading persons in this country, and was introduced to Royalty itself in Buckingham Palace. His protector was Mr. Caleb Angus, a merchant and shipowner in the city. The lad expressed a wish to go to sea, and was placed aboard the Caleb Angus, a ship named after his protector the captain being- instructed to take very great care of him, and see that he was properly attended aud provided for. The Caleb Angus was wrecked at Barbadoes, and Pomara narrowly escaped with his life, and was thrown ashore with nothing but his shirt and trousers on. The lad after visiting Grenada and St. Vincent, where he was taken into the service of the harbour master, and after undergoing many hardships and adventures, which had more the appearance of a romance than the occurenccs of actual life, was shipped on board the Eliza for England. The lad was exposed to much ill-usage on board the Eliza, was frequently assaulted, and his unprotected state created no sympathy, as it ought to have been done. The lad was then introduced into the witness's box. He was attired in a midshipman's uniform, purchased for him by Mr. Angus, and his intelligent open countenance prepossessed every one in his favour. The particular assault complained of was committed while at sea. The lad, who suffered much from rheumatism and pain, was treated very roughly, and one day he was directed by the mate to take a marling spike on to the main yard. The lad was directed to wait a minute by the man on the yard, and the mate called him down again, and after abusing the lad, said he would give him a rope's end, and gave him a severe flogging with the bight of a thick rope. The lad threatened to complain to the master of the ship, on which the mate said he would prevent him doing that, and after striking him with his fists about the head and face, kicked him severely. Pomara said he would make the mate suffer for his ill treatment when he reached England, and the mate beat him again, and caused the blood to flow from his nose and mouth. Pomara was disabled for some time afterwards. The lad's statement having been confirmed by a seaman, Mr. Pelham after cross-examining the witnesses, addressed the magistrate for the defendant, and submitted that the boy was insolent, and that the punishment was not excessive. Mr. Ballantine said the law did not give any power to mates of ships to correct any one, and he considered the defendant had been guilty of a very cruel and attrocious assault on a friendless lad. It was not surprising that mutinies were sometimes heard of, when such cruelties as those complained of were practised. He fined the mute £5 which was instantly paid. The lad Pomara will return to his native land with Mr. Eyre, the new Lieutenant Governor of New Zealand.— Times, Nov. 29.
New Zealander 15 May 1847 page 3

A correspondent at Otaki has forwarded the Wellington Evening Press the following interesting sketch of the career of Hare Pomare, the native chief, who died of asthma in the Wellington Hospital last week : — Hare Pomaro was a man of very high rank amongst the Maoris, and was the father of Albert Victor Pomare, the Queen's godchild. In 1863, when Hare was about 19, he was taken to England with his wife and twelve other men and women of high rank — chiefly Ngapuhis from north of Auckland — by an adventurer to intended to make money by taking the Maoris round and exhibiting them. From their first arrival in England they were much taken notice of by the then Secretary for the Colonies, the Duke of Newcastle, who invited them to his house where they met numerous lords and ladies, who afterwards invited them to spend whole days at their respective residences. Hare Pomare was of tall stature, 6ft 5in, and earned himself well was affable in his manner, and commanded the attention of all who saw him. A son was born to him in England, and Her Majesty the Queen notified, through the Duke of Newcastle, that she would be god-mother to the child, and that it was to be named Albert Victor. The christening ceremony was performed by the Rev. Mr Sorley, Incumbent of the district church at Tottenham, the daughter of the Duke of Newcastle's private secretary standing as poxy for Her Majesty. All the expenses connected with the birth of the infant, and also the fares to Windsor Castle of Mrs Colenso — whom she invited as translator — Pomare, wife, and baby were paid by the Queen. They were well received on arrival, and admitted to a private audience. The only lady in attendance, the Hon. Lady Bruce, took the baby, and invited Her Majesty to "try his weight." She did so, and was much astonished at his large size for so young an infant. On his beginning to expostulate at his change of nurses, in the language of infants, the Queen laughingly passed him on to Mrs Colenso. After the Queen had retired, her private photographer, Mr Bambridge, who had received instructions to that effect, photographed interesting trio, who then returned to the their lodgings atTottenham. HYomthence the Queen gave them a good outfit and paid their passage in a stern cabin, saloon, to New Zealand. For. some time after their return they lived at Hokianga, but of late years have spent most of their time about Otaki, where Hare had inherited land in the Horowhenna block through his mother, who was a daughter of Phatanui, a chief of Ngatiraukawa. Albert Victor Pomaro was educated at St. Stephen's, Auckland, and is now, in accordance with his own wish, working as a sailor before the mast on a vessel just arrived in England. 

Wanganui Chronicle, Volume XXXIII, Issue 11691, 16 July 1890

The barque Pestonjee Bomanjee, 595 tons Captain Austin, sailed from Sydney for Auckland on the 30th Jane, with Government stores. She had as passengers - Mr. Eyre, (Lieutenant-Governor of New Zealand) and servant, Pomari and Peri Kawau, (two New Zealanders), Major Bridge, Mrs. Bridge and child, Captain Thompson, Lieutenants Herbert and Edwards, Ensign Garstin, Mrs. Garstin, Quarter-Master-Kirby, Assistant Surgeon Bannaitine, Deputy Assistant Commissary General Solway, 11 sergeants, and 163 rank and file, with 53 women, and 79 children.
Wellington Independent, Volume III, Issue 185, 21 July 1847

ARRIVALS. August 7. — Cutter Catherine Ann, 17 tons, Cemino, from Manawatu.
Same day. — H. M. Steamer Inflexible, 6 guns, Commander Hoseason, from Auckland.
Same day. — Barque Pestonjee Bomanjee, 595 tons Austin, from Auckland. Passengers — His Excellency Lieut.-Governor Eyre, Mr. Gisborne, Private Secretary, Lieut. Col. Gould, Mrs. Gould, and five children, Capt. Marshall, Lieuts. Rattigan, Cuthbert, M'Gregor, Surgeon Prendergrast, Quarter Master Paul, Mrs. Paul and four daughters, Peri Kawau, and 13 other natives, 181 rank and file, with 35 women and 57 children.
New Zealand Spectator and Cook's Strait Guardian, Volume III, Issue 212, 11 August 1847

grandson of Ngati Mutunga rangatiri Wiremu Piti Pomare


Robert Clifford
born about 1843 England - died 16 January 1906 Dunedin, New Zealand

Robert Clifford by Clifford & Co., Dunedin

Robert Clifford born circa 1843 England youngest son of Margaret and George Clifford [shipwright], London, arrived New Zealand before December 1869, died 16 January 1906 Dunedin aged 63 years, buried 18 January 1906, Southern Cemetery, Dunedin, block 21, plot 9.

Married 1stly 31 May 1871, reg. 1871/6228, Jane Malcolm born circa 1850, only daughter of the late John Malcolm, Canterbury, died at her home in Fernhill Street, Dunedin in 1888 aged 38 years, buried Southern Cemetery, Dunedin, block 21, plot 9.

On the 31st of May, at [Wesleyan] Trinity Church, by the Rev. A. Reid, Robert, youngest son of Mr. George Clifford, London, to Janet, only daughter of the late Mr. John Malcolm of Canterbury.
Evening Star, Volume IX, Issue 2586, 1 June 1871

issue with Janet Malcolm:
1. Henry Herbert Clifford [photographer] born 1 May 1872 Dunedin, reg. 1872/35824, died
19 February 1949 aged 76 years, reg, 1949/18041, buried Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, block 17, plot 343, married 24 July 1915, reg. 1915/4265 Annette Mary Eleanor Jane Thomas, born 5 November 1881, reg. 1881/13028, died 28 April 1968 aged 86 years, reg. 1968/30602, buried Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch, block 17, plot 343, daughter of John Woodill Thomas and Elizabeth Bates.
1a. Robert Henry Clifford, service number 391341 Royal New Zealand Air Force, born 14 April 1916, reg. 1916/4062, died 23 August 1940 from injuries at Oxford, England aged 24 years, death registered NZ reg. 1945/15784, buried Harwell Cemetery, Berkshire, grave 609
1b. Garth Ogilvie Clifford [solicitor] born 27 July 1917, reg. 1917/4193, died 27 January 1981, Christchurch, reg. 1981/43827, married circa 1949 Mary Ida Cowlishaw   
1c. Alister Bertrum Clifford [or Allister Bertrum Clifford] born 30 December 1918, reg. 1919/5589, died 15 or 17 January 1940, reg. 1940/22757, [cemetery and death registration indicate date of death as 15 January, however newspaper death notice and headstone indicates 17 January], buried 19 January 1940 Bromley Cemetery, block 17, plot 343

2. Arthur Bertram Clifford born 12 July 1877, reg. 1877/8884, died 27 November 1911 at 3 Maitland Street, Dunedin aged 34 years, reg. 1911/8881, buried Southern Cemetery, block 2P, plot 110, married 20 December 1904, reg. 1904/4597 Agnes Hair Churchill, daughter of William Churchill and Ann Spiers Hair, born 24 September 1877 Dunedin, reg. 1877/9033, died 14 July 1963 Dunedin aged 85 years, reg. 1963/23779, buried Southern Cemetery, block 2P, plot 110

no issue found.

3. Eva Frances Clifford born 22 October 1879, reg. 1879/9049, died 9 October 1961 Dunedin Public Hospital, aged 82 years, reg. 1961/37742, married 29 November 1905, reg. 1905/4211, Percy Edward Wilson he died 10 August 1945 Dunedin aged 72 years, reg. 1945/24808, no issue found.

4. Robert Clifford born 5 March 1881, reg. 1881/5154, died 7 August 1908 at his residence, 33 Peter Street, Caversham, Dunedin after a long illness aged 27 years, reg. 1908/6782, buried Southern Cemetery, Dunedin, block 21, plot 9, married 28 November 1906, reg. 1906/4610, Jessie Fox born circa 1884, reg. 1884/15892, died 1 August 1959 Dunedin aged 75 years, reg. 1959/31138, daughter of Hugh Fox [quarryman] and Jane Bulloch, married 2ndly 1922, reg. 1922/8969 John George Stewart.
4a. Edith May Clifford "Maisie" born 4 April 1908, reg. 1908/11052, died 10 April 1984, reg. 1984/47215, married 4 December 1937, reg. 1937/14221 Leslie Whyte Edginton son of William Edginton and Annie Kennedy Whyte, children, Leslie Edginton and Patricia Edginton.

5. Spencer Clifford born 18 May 1883, reg. 1883/1064, died 7 January 1891 Dunedin Hospital, aged 7 years, 7 months, buried Southern Cemetery, block 21, plot 9, [the Dunedin City Council Cemetery database incorrectly shows block 121, plot 9].  

6. Kate Constance Clifford born 21 November 1887, reg. 1888/12681, died 19 August 1907 aged 19 years at her residence, 107 Union Street, Dunedin, reg. 1907/6750, buried Southern Cemetery, Dunedin, block 21, plot 9.

Married 2ndly 14 October 1889, in the Office of the Registrar of Marriages, Dunedin, reg. 1889/3375, witnessed by Hermann Bruhl [storeman] and Auguste Bruhl of Dunedin, Clara Gotte, born circa 1866, Paderborn, Prussia, daughter of Franz Gotte [accountant] and Johanna Schroder, [possibly same person as Clara Louise Goette born 5 April 1866, bapt 29 April 1866, Paderborn, Prussia, daughter of Franz Joseph Goette and Johanna Schroeder], died 29 May 1952, reg. 14184/1952 Randwick, New South Wales, Australia.
issue with Clara Gotte:

7. Hilda Clifford born 3 March 1890, reg. 1890/8258, died 17 November 1903 at her parents' residence, Eskvale Street, Musselburgh, Dunedin aged 13 years and 8 months, reg. 1903/8193,
buried Southern Cemetery, Dunedin, block 21, plot 9.

8. George Clifford born 10 October 1892, reg. 1892/13806, died 2 February 1893 aged 4 months, reg. 1893/1757, buried Southern Cemetery, Dunedin, block 21, plot 9.

9. Eugene Clifford born 19 July 1894, reg. 1894/11091, died 18 December 1917 Hamilton aged 24 years, reg. 1917/6634, buried Hamilton East Cemetery, married 17 February 1915, reg. 1915/8755 Blanche Elsie Iles born 27 March 1896, reg. 1896/16182, died 18 February 1976, reg. 1976/26172, daughter of Arthur James Iles [photographer] and Ripeka Rangimahora Parani Ututaonga ("Rangi") also known as Rebecca Elsie Utuatonga or Puckey, she married 2ndly 31 May 1923 Rotorua, reg. 1923/8647 Daniel Arthur Dinneen, born 7 November 1898, reg. 1898/11584, died 11 May 1988, reg. 1988/32395 [date of birth shown as 1 November 1988 at time of registration of death], son of Harriet Louise Shalders and John Dinneen
9a. Nola Clifford born 22 April 1915, reg, 1915/18707, died 15 November 1997, reg, 1997/45310, married 17 August 1935, reg. 1935/3580 George Pirrit Green [farmer], born 14 September 1915, reg. 1915/12170, son of Margaret Glen Pirrit and Edward Langley Green, died 27 May 1974 aged 56 years, reg. 1974/29135, buried Waikumete Cemetery, Auckland, Cremation Lawn Division B, row 1, plot 99, father of Rodger, Bruce and Bonnie.
9b. Elsie Constance Clifford born 15 June 1916, reg. 1916/18774, died 2 September 1931 aged 15 years, reg. 1931/7081 

10. Leopold Clifford [or Claude Leo Clifford / Claud Leo Clifford], born 23 September 1896 Dunedin, reg. 1896/5005, died 7 July 1970, New South Wales, Australia, buried Rookwood General Cemetery, NSW [1915 banana planter employed by R. Clifford, Rarotonga and later Clerk C.S.R. Company, Fiji], served in both WWI and WWII., Australia service number WWII - QX42652, married 1929 N.S.W., Wilga Eileen Stirling nee Leese [she was previously married to Sydney Coverdale Watson a well known actor under his stage name Sydney Stirling], born 1897, Sydney, New South Wales, daughter of Alfred Leese [photographer] and Eileen Marie Rowe [or Eileen Mercy Rowe], died December 1953 aged 53 years, then of 685 New South Head Road, Rose Bay, cremated. 

 Robert Clifford

Robert Clifford by Robert Clifford, Otago Portrait Gallery

 Robert Clifford
Clifford & Son (Dunedin): Portrait of Robert Clifford Esq. Ref: PA3-0039. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. /records/22851892

from about 1869-1892


Otago Daily Times, Issue 2447, 9 December 1869

Photography. We have been shown some photographs of Home dramatic artists, beautifully colored by Messrs Clifford and Clifton. We confess to a long-felt weakness in favor of uncolored photographs, as much of the roundness and delicate halftone is usually destroyed by the application of color; but we most candidly avow that the photographs submitted to us are free from this common defect, and are decidedly improved by color. These pictures are on view at their studio, Fleet street, and are in every way worthy a visit.
Evening Star, Volume VIII, Issue 2097, 25 January 1870

In July 1871 Robert Clifford of Fleet Street, a member of the Loyal Alexandra Lodge of the Ancient Independent Order of Oddfellows, presented the Lodge with a frame containing photographs of the retiring officers.
Otago Witness, Issue 1025, 22 July 1871, Page 3

Otago Witness, Issue 1081, 17 August 1872, Page 13

Otago Daily Times, Issue 3591, 8 August 1873, Page 4

Photography is an art which has been very successfully prosecuted in Dunedin, as well as in other Australasian cities. We have frequently had occasion to notice the beautiful pictures produced in the studio of Messrs Burton Brothers, and we recently noticed the splendid photographic gallery fitted up for the proprietors of the London Rooms by Mr Reichelt.

We have now much pleasure in noticing that Messrs Clifford, Morris, and Co., of the Otago Portrait Gallery, are determined not to be outdone either in the fitting up of their studio, or in the style of executing their work. They have just erected, at no inconsiderable expense, a second studio, which is situated on the ground floor, and supplied with every requisite for the production of good pictures. A most important adjunct is a set of new patent instruments just received from Messrs J. H. Dalmeyer and Co., which enable them to overcome entirely the difficulty of lengthened exposure — a very great desideratum in photographing children and persons of a nervous temperament. Another improvement introduced is the Rembrandt process, by which the portraits are shaded in a very striking and peculiar manner.

Otago Daily Times, Issue 3593, 11 August 1873

We thank Messrs Clifford and Morris for their very admirable photographs of the Hon. S. D. Hastings [Samuel Dexter Hastings], received from them to-day. Whether considered as works of art or striking likenesses, they are equally excellent. The artist has chosen two positions, which, combined, form a complete picture of Mr Hastings.
Evening Star, Issue 3758, 10 March 1875

Royal Arcade, Dunedin

The completion of the shops on the newly erected side of Fleet street, or as it is now called "the Royal Arcade," is being rapidly pushed on under the personal supervision of Mr Farley. The total length of the Arcade is 330 feet, and as it is now asphalted from one side to another, a width of 30 feet, and is roofed over, it is in its improved condition a place where one may agreeably go a-shopping, or enjoy a promenade. Altogether, including the buildings at the corners, there are 31 shops in the Arcade.

Midway from each end a three storey erection rises extending over the pathway. This tall building is being fitted up as a photographic gallery for Messrs Clifford and Morris, and as it is roofed with glass and rises above the surrounding buildings its lighting cannot by any circumstance be injured. The shops on the newly built side have each a basement floor for storing and unpacking goods, an accommodation which those occupying them will appreciate, and in the rear of them, there is a passage leading to the street.

Adding to hotels has been for some time the order of the day in Dunedin, and the Arcade corner building, next to the Bull and Mouth, has now been mads part of the latter hotel, and will be used as a bar. It is intended to have a grand opening of "the Royal Arcade" on Monday night next, on which occasion there is to be a promenade concert, the proceeds of which will be for the benefit of the Benevolent Institution.
Otago Daily Times, Issue 4266, 20 October 1875, Page 2

 Farley’s Royal Arcade in the early 1870s, the junction of Maclaggan and Rattray Streets in the foreground - Otago Settlers Museum collection 

Sydney Intercolonial Exhibition.
... Messrs Clifford and Morris have prepared two cases of specimen photographs for the Sydney Exhibition. The photographs consist of 12 cabinet photographs and 24 cartes de visite, and are plainly but neatly mounted. The subjects are very well chosen, and although the number of specimens has been limited to 36, there is no lack of variety, almost every style being represented. Great taste has been shown in the tinting and in the suitability of the backgrounds to the subjects. The snow pictures are a specialty introduced by Messrs Clifford and Morris into New Zealand, and all the photographs have been so artistically produced that it is by no means improbable their merit will be recognised by the judges of the department in which they will be shown.

Otago Witness, Issue 1449, 30 August 1879

The following further Exhibition awards are published: — Second prizes — Chamber of Commerce (Oamaru), for photographs of Oamaru; N. K. Cherrill (Christchurch), Clifford and Morris (Dunedin), and L. J. Taylor (of Motueka, Nelson), for photographs. Third prizes — J. Bragge (of Wellington), W. B. Gibbs (Wellington), and Burton (of Dunedin), for photographs.
Otago Witness, Issue 1527, 12 February 1881

Mr Clifford (of the firm of Clifford and Morris, Royal Arcade, Dunedin) intimates that he is about to establish a branch of his well-known photographic studios in Lawrence. He purposes making a short stay, and should sufficient inducement offer, he will make periodical visits. The reputation Mr Clifford enjoys as a photographic artist is well-known, and is a sufficient guarantee that all work entrusted to him will be executed in a highly-finished style.
Tuapeka Times, Volume XVI, Issue 970, 5 September 1883

Mr Morris, the well-known photographer of George-street, Dunedin, notifies through our advertising columns that he has no connection in any way with Mr Clifford, the photographer, who intends to visit Lawrence at an early date. The firm of Clifford and Morris was dissolved about three years ago— Mr Clifford electing to carry on the business in the Arcade and Mr Morris removing to George-street. In a paragraph which appeared in our Wednesday's issue referring to Mr Clifford's contemplated professional visit to Lawrence, the word "late" (of the late firm of Clifford and Morris) was accidentally omitted.
Tuapeka Times, Volume XVI, Issue 971, 8 September 1883

In 1884 the Oamaru studio completed a photograph which included portraits of the officers of the post and telegraph offices:

We have to thank the Officers of the Oamaru post and telegraph offices for a clearly taken well finished photograph, containing miniature portraits of themselves. The card is prettily embellished with elegant devices in flowers and ferns, and the likenesses are remarkably true to the originals, that of the postmaster, Mr Hutton, very properly occupying the place of honor. Views of the breakwater and of the old post-office, and of the new one now nearly finished, are given in the card, which is therefore a photographic work of interest to more than those who happen to be personally depicted upon it. The artists are Messrs Clifford.

North Otago Times, Volume XXVIII, Issue 3639, 2 May 1884, Page 2

Evening Star, Issue 8968, 29 October 1892

Evening Star, Issue 10248, 25 February 1897 
[this notice continued in the Evening Star until 2 March 1897]

R. Clifford
Portrait Painter, Photographer
7 & 8 Fleet Street, Dunedin 


The Otago School of Photography
Clifford and Clifton
7 & 8 Fleet Street, Dunedin
from 24 January 1870 to 1 April 1870

 Notice of Partnership. I hereby give notice, that I have this day taken into partnership Mr G. F. Clifton in the business hitherto carried on by me at the School of Photography, No, 7 and 8, Fleet street, Dunedin. ROBERT CLIFFORD. 24th January, 1870.

Cartes de Visite. Portraits for the Million. Photographs taken in first-class style, 8s per half-dozen; extra copies, and copies of English and Foreign Theatrical and other Celebrities, Is each. Fcpc by post to any part of the Colonies. CLIFFORD & CLIFTON, School of Photography, No. 7 and 8, Fleet street, Dunedin. N.B.—Specimens on view.

Evening Star, Volume VIII, Issue 2097, 25 January 1870

Dissolution of partnership. This is to certify that the Partnership hitherto existing as Clifford and Clifton, Photographic Artists, Fleet street, Dunedin, has this day been dissolved by mutual consent. (Signed) G. F.Clifton, Robert Clifford. Witness--H. W. Murray.
Evening Star, Volume VIII, Issue 2154, 1 April 1870

Otago Portrait Gallery
 R. Clifford 
Fleet Street, Dunedin

"Miss Ross, the Taieri Fasting Girl"

Robert Clifford by Robert Clifford, Otago Portrait Gallery.

R. Clifford
Fleet Street, Dunedin

R. Clifford
Fleet Street (Arcade), Dunedin

R. Clifford and Co
Fleet Street, Dunedin


Clifford & Morris
Fleet Street, Dunedin, N.Z.

 This advertising carte de visite for Clifford & Morris provided courtesy of 
Smith's Bookshop Tannery Emporium, 3 Garlands Road, Woolston, Christchurch 8023.

John Richard Morris, born circa 1854 Manchester, England, died 29 June 1919 at his residence, George Street, Dunedin aged 65 years, reg.1919/6776



Clifford & Morris
Fleet Street, Dunedin, N.Z.

Reverse with border





Reverse without border







above - Mr. J. Dennistoun, 
Haldon Station Partner, 1867-1878, Peel Forest 1878-1921.


The following photographs will date to after February 1876 when Clifford and Morris moved to the Royal Arcade.
Clifford Morris and Co.
Royal Arcade, Dunedin
Robert Clifford, John Richard Morris and Charles Spencer

Clifford, Morris and Co.
Fleet Street, Dunedin
Robert Clifford, John Richard Morris and Charles Spencer





The chair and table shown in this studio are not seen in other Clifford, Morris & Co. photographs and this may indicate this is a copy of a photograph made by them by another photographer.


Clifford Morris and Co
Royal Arcade, Dunedin, N.Z.

Robert Clifford, John Richard Morris and Charles Spencer
 to 18 July 1877

Evening Star, Issue 4488, 18 July 1877






Clifford & Morris
Royal Arcade, Dunedin, N.Z.

reverse with boarder

 above - Mrs G. G. Sanders (?)

no reverse boarder

above - R. Johnston - Green Island

reverse with boarder


above - Bella Hislop

above - Mr. Melville Gray
[previously in the collection of James Younger] 

above - Charles White

Clifford & Morris
Royal Arcade, Dunedin, N.Z.
[the word "Artists" has been dropped]

above - John Edmonds

above - Agnes Gourley - Mrs Ross, Dunedin

Clifford & Morris
Royal Arcade and George Street
Dunedin, N.Z.

above - [Miss or Mrs] Frame, Dunedin

Reginald Herbert Webb
[born 1879] 
May 1880

Clifford & Morris
Royal Arcade
Dunedin, N.Z.
[words "Morris" and "& George Street" deleted]
after September 1881

Clifford & Co
Arcade, Dunedin &
Thames St., Oamaru, N.Z.
  Open in Oamaru in premises previously occupied by Ferrier and Rock on 14 November 1883
succeeded in Oamaru by Joseph Thomson Henry about 1887
previously assistant with Clifford and Morris, Dunedin

Messrs R. Clifford and Co., of Dunedin, who have gained an extensive reputation as photographers, will open a branch establishment in Oamaru on the 14th inst. in the studio lately occupied by Messrs Ferrier and Rock.
North Otago Times, Volume XXVIII, Issue 3486, 8 November 1883, Page 2

In November 1883 the Oamaru Borough Council declined Clifford's application to erect a two-sided sign-board over his shop in Thames Street.
North Otago Times, Volume XXVIII, Issue 3490, 23 November 1883, Page 2

Oamaru Mail, Volume X, Issue 3816, 13 January 1887


with boarder, rounded edges

no boarder, rounded edges

no boarder, square edges


Clifford & Son
Arcade, Dunedin and Thames Street, Oamaru


Clifford & Son
Arcade, Dunedin



John Bevin
1831 - 1892
These photographs of John Bevin taken at separate sittings, probably around 1873-1875, by Clifford, Morris and Co., and reproduced later by Robert Clifford using his then current carte de visite cards. The first photograph uses the Clifford and Morris card with "Morris" deleted, dates from after the end of their partnership in September 1881. The second photograph uses the Clifford and Son card and would date from after March 1888. John Bevin died at his residence, Dowling Street, Dunedin on died 11 May 1892.

John Bevin, one of the Six Hundred in the Charge of the Light Brigade, as a police sergeant, ca. 1873-1875 / photograph by Clifford & Morris, Dunedin
 File number: FL3266031.
 Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales  

Find A Grave
Original source not known

Wise's Directory for 1878-79
Clifford and Morris, Arcade, Dunedin

Wise's Directory for 1883-84
Clifford Robert, Arcade Fleet Street, Dunedin

Wise's Directory for 1885-86
Clifford and Co., Thames Street, Oamaru
Clifford Robert, Arcade, Dunedin

Wise's Directory for 1887-88
Clifford and Co., Thames Street, Oamaru
Clifford Robert, Arcade, Fleet Street, Dunedin

The New Zealand Post Office Directory (Wise's) for 1890-91
Clifford and Co., (Robert), Arcade, Fleet Street, Dunedin