Susan, Rotorua


This photograph, taken in New Zealand some time between 1890 and 1920, is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress. Frank G. Carpenter (1855-1924) was an American writer of books on travel and world geography whose works helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Consisting of photographs taken and gathered by Carpenter and his daughter Frances (1890-1972) to illustrate his writings, the collection includes an estimated 16,800 photographs and 7,000 glass and film negatives. Taken by an anonymous photographer in Rotorua, the photograph is a head-and-shoulders portrait of Maori woman wearing traditional dress. She is holding a decorated club known as a wahaika, which was used by the Maori for hand-to-hand combat. Around her neck she wears a hei tiki, a Maori ornamental pendant in human form.

Last updated: September 11, 2014