The Tattooed Rocks

The first mention by Pakeha of the Tattooed rocks and the most exciting account is a passing mention (as a beautifully carved boulder) in an article Dated to September 1869 regarding the discovery of a Cave Containing the petrified remains of 87 Maori


Star , Issue 429, 29 September 1869, Page 3

Richard Todd was killed by members of the Maori king movement the Following year while surveying Confiscated Lands.

The Rocks next appearance is a passing mention (as the Tattooed Rocks) in a puff piece for the attractions of the Raglan area dated January 1895.

A September 1901 round up of popular news from around the nation includes a tidbit relating to the current and continuing damage facing the Tattooed rocks from exposure to the elements as well as noting a (then) Mysterious act of Vandalism. Which was not to be Explained until 1910 in a reply to amateur archaeologist Clement Wragge (A man of many theories about the origin of the Tattooed Rocks (as well as other megalithic sites in New Zealand both real and imagined ) Who’s opinions on the Tattooed Rocks will be the subject of next weeks Post)

Over the course of that decade there were a couple of mentions of photographic exhibitions and there are indications they had been  a popular subject for photographers since their discovery by Pakeha.

Gilmour Brothers (Firm). Tattooed rocks, near Raglan, 1911 – Photograph taken by Gilmour Brothers. Price, William Archer, 1866-1948 :Collection of post card negatives. Ref: 1/2-000370-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

Outside the many articles penned by Clement Wragge there remains one newspaper story dated to September 1915 and based upon the claims of Professor John MacMillan Brown putting forward propositions of Polynesians decent from western Europeans which contains a passing mention of the Tattooed Rocks as Megalithic Evidence of this.

More tantalizing is the story of a mysterious shipwreck linked to the Rocks and also the last story before our WWII cut off.


Evening Post, Volume CXXVIII, Issue 143, 14 December 1939, Page 12

Next week; The Theories of Clement Wragge and a discussion on the “Lost Continent” of Lemuria and its place in New Zealand Esoteric thought.

*With thanks to the National Library of New Zealand.



This entry was posted in Megalithic New Zealand and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Tattooed Rocks

  1. Fascinating information, thank you.

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