Check out the stunning portrait of the Pacific's very own Mona Lisa.
Painted in the 1770s by John Webber when she was taken captive by Captain Cook, Poetua was the daughter of the high-chief Oreo.
Webber accompanied Captain Cook on his third, 1776-1780, voyage to the Pacific, where the captain was welcomed back to Tahiti with open arms. Also on the voyage was another ship – the Discovery, captained by Lieutenant Charles Clerke – from which two crew deserted.
As the story goes, to get the Tahitian chief to help with their return, Cook locked Princess Poetua, her brother and husband in Clerke's "great cabin" – and the deserters were returned in about three days.
While the princess was imprisoned in Clerke's tiny cabin, Webber did smaller, now lost, oil paintings of her.
On his return to England, for his European audience, the cramped confines of the tiny cabin-turned-cell were replaced with a lush tropical backdrop.
Europeans had seen images of Pacific Island people, but none of females on this scale – at more than 1.65m high it was not only a massive painting but also changed the perception of how the Pacific was portrayed.
"It was probably the first oil painting that showed the image of a South Pacific woman as an alluring beauty,"
In London, it was exhibited in the Royal Academy – at the time England's most prestigious gallery.
Not long after, the painting disappeared, eventually turning up in the possession of the Tahitian Pomare dynasty.
Te Papa acquired the artwork in 2010 for 2.04 million!