May 12, 2021

Maori News & Indigenous Views

Taonga stolen from Clendon House

2 min read

The New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT) is asking that an historic artefact taken from Clendon House in Rawene be returned.

A carved whalebone whip handle which was on display at the NZHPT property was taken recently though the person responsible may not realise the full implications of what he or she has done.

This piece of carved whalebone belonged to George Thomas Clendon, the oldest son of James Reddy Clendon and his wife Jane Takotowi Clendon, who was a woman of significant whakapapa in the Hokianga, says NZHPT Northern Heritage Destinations Manager Gordon Hewston.

George Clendon was regarded by local Maori as a significant rangatira and served as the Official Native Translator for Hokianga. The whip handle was undoubtedly the highly-prized possession of a rangatira and, as such, it is in the thiefs best interests to return this object promptly.

George Clendon lived in the house from the time it was built in 1862 until he died there in 1933. It is likely that the whalebone whip handle has never left Clendon House.

We try to keep a close eye on visitors to Clendon House, though no place is 100 percent thief-proof, says Mr Hewston.

The real value of this object is the connection it has with the house and its cultural significance. We really just want this object returned to us as soon as possible even if its brought back anonymously.

People with information on the intricately hand-carved whip handle made of whale bone about 37cm in length (pictured above) can contact their local police station, or phone Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

For more information

Gordon Hewston
Northern Regional Property Manager
New Zealand Historic Places Trust

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