Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Pāua (Abalone) Shell Bowl


“Pāua (abalone) is a special delicacy in New Zealand and I have fond memories as a kid sitting on the rocks at Mahia Peninsular watching my father diving for pāua at low tide. I remember the first pāua I got when paddling around in the shallows and a surge of the tide moved the seaweed off a rock revealing a pāua that I quickly set to prizing off with an old blunt butcher knife. Diving for pāua is a great tradition especially among Māori and although pāua aren’t as plentiful as they once were, you will still find divers all around the coastline of Aotearoa tirelessly hunting for feed of pāua for their whānau (family)”.

—Todd Couper

Todd Couper

Todd Couper


Ngāti Kahungunu

(1974- )

Todd attended Te Aute Boys College in Hawkes Bay from 1987 to 1991 and quickly excelled in art. In 1995, he completed the Diploma of Art, Craft and Māori Design at Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua; he majored in woodcarving/sculpture and graduated with honours. It was during this time that he met Roi Toia, who was teaching there. Roi, impressed with his talent, invited Todd to apprentice with him. They continue to work together, but Todd has forged his own style and direction in carving, with commissioned pieces residing in collections in the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. He participated in Kiwa: Pacific Connections (2003) in Vancouver, Canada.