Model plucked from parade

01:05, Jan 21 2013
Anituhia by H.C. Cheesman
Anituhia by H.C. Cheesman

Maike van der Heide looks back at Marlborough's history through the stories of some of the treasures at the Marlborough Museum. Today: "Anituhia by H C Cheesman"

The woman in this oil painting is Annie "Dolly" Anituhia MacDonald-Neame. In notes left by Dolly to the Marlborough Museum, she says she was marching in the Marlborough Centennial parade through Blenheim in 1969 when a woman by the name of Honora Cheesman asked her to pose for her.

The resulting painting of Dolly dressed in a cloak, piupiu and plaited head-piece was simply labelled "Anituhia by H.C. Cheesman".

When the artist died, the painting was willed to Dolly through the Public Trust.

Dolly said she was so proud of the painting she wanted to give it to the archives at Brayshaw Park.

The oil painting is not Dolly's only contribution to the archives and collections at the Marlborough Museum. She also gave a Maori feather cloak, or korowai.


The cloak is made of feathers from grey ducks and paradise ducks, with a red feather from her brother Frank MacDonald, and was created over four years.

Though Dolly wore the cloak, she gave it to the Historical Society at Brayshaw Park in 1989.

It was worn by her daughter, Viveyan Tuhimata, in 1995 for her mother's funeral.

In May 2003, the cloak was present at Rangitane Treaty of Waitangi land claim hearings.

Many of Dolly's family members continue to live in Marlborough.

Marlborough Museum, Arthur Baker Place, Blenheim, open 10am to 4pm daily.

The Marlborough Express