TOY SOLDIERS Von Tempsky and the Hau Hau - Statement by Chuck Joseph.
Here I depict a set of six soldiers from New Zealand history as a traditional set of Victorian toys with some foliage and a camp fire. The two Rangers and Von Tempsky, their mercenary leader, are shown as a Magpie, a Rook and a Myna bird, all introduced birds. Their adversaries are the Hau Hau. These Maori guerrilla fighters were fighting to regain their land and are shown as a Tui, a Huia and a Kokako, all indigenous birds.
Although toy soldiers are things of childhood, they have always represented to me society’s acceptance of something that should be questioned or at least understood because lessons of history are so soon lost.
Von Tempsky, the artistic mercenary, died at the hands of the Hau Hau and the Hau Hau’s cause was soon lost.
My figures are ghostly faded figures, souvenirs of a battle not forgotten.