Wairarapa chief Ngairo Rakaihikuroa will not be coming home after all.
Wairarapa's art and history museum, Aratoi, and local iwi, Ngati Kahungunu, had been trying to bring a Gottfried Lindauer portrait of the chief home in time for this year's 150th celebrations for Masterton and Greytown.
But Aratoi director Tracey Puklowski said although the gallery had permission to borrow the painting from the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, England, the cost was prohibitive.
The exhibition, Kahungunu Ka MoeKa Puta, opens on May 1 and will have to make do with a transparency of the picture. But 10 other Lindauers will be on show as well as a collection of historic photographs.
The portrait was taken overseas about 100 years ago when the then owner moved to England.