Urewera Mural - Colin McCahon (NZ Herald 31 Aug 98)
An unlikely friendship between a Pakeha millionairess art collector and two Maori radicals ... sealed the return of the stolen $1.25 million Colin McCahon painting at the weekend. The breakthrough followed weeks of trust-building between Mrs Gibbs and Tuhoe tribe members Te Kaha and Tame Iti, facilitated initially by lawyer Chris Harder. She confirmed she had "a lot of respect for them". She believed it had been stolen as an "object lesson in how it feels" to have taonga (cultural treasures) stolen and treated badly. "This has been a rewarding experience - I have learned a huge amount about other people's perspectives" she said.
Te Kaha, Jenny Gibbs and Tame Iti.
The painting, which specifically depicts Tuhoe and makes a statement about Iwi is itself a representation of the tribes relationship with the land, yet it became the possession of the crown, displayed in the Department of Conservation until its theft.
Tame Iti at Ruatoki (O'Connor and Melbourne)
The theft involved a rapid getaway and vehicles crashing roadblocks. Police complained that officers had been assaulted and spat on and "abused in a most disgusting manner" during the (unsuccessful) investigation.