Kia orana e kia manuia tatou katoatoa,
In this third blogpost of Te Epetoma o te Reo Māori Kuki Airani – Cook Islands Māori Language week, Grace Hutton (Collection Manager Pacific Cultures) shares with us some wonderful images taken by George Crummer, a photographer who worked in the Cook Islands in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Grateful thanks to Jan O’Brien, a great great granddaughter of George and Upokotio for this information.
George Robson Crummer was born in Auckland on 14 June 1868. His parents George and Mary Jane Crummer (nee McElwain) migrated to Auckland from Ireland, on the ship the Mary Shepherd in 1866. His sister Mary Louisa was born in 1873.
In 1890 with a number of business partners, George Robson invested in a topsail schooner called “Jessie Niccol”. The schooner was employed to sail between the Cook Islands and Auckland bringing fruit, copra, pearl shell, and fungus from the islands and returning with general cargo.
On May 4 1892 he married Upokotio Tangiiau in the Cook Islands Christian Church, at Turangi, Ngatangiia, Cook Islands. Upokotio was the daughter of Tangaiia Mataiapo, a high chief of Takitumu. George and Upokotio had seven children.
Along with the shipping business George also built up a business taking portraits of Cook Islanders and general scene photographs in Rarotonga, Aituaki and Mangaia.
Some of the images taken by George are in a photograph album that belonged to Reverend J. J. K. Hutchin and is now in the Photography collection, Te Papa.
George Robson Crummer died on 17 May 1953. The well known New Zealand based singers Annie Crummer and her father Will Crummer are also direct descendants.