“When the waka (canoe) that left Hawaiki carrying the ancestors of the Arawa people, the name for the canoe was called Nga Rākau matahi Pu a Atuamatua. Some oral histories tell the story of the crew members being attacked by a large marakihau (sea monster) and with imminent impending loss of life, the crew was rescued by a school of sharks. These particular sharks are known as Te Arawa. In honour of these sharks, the name of the waka was changed to Te Arawa from which the many sub-tribes of Te Arawa descend”.
—Lewis Tamihana Gardiner
Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Whanau a Apanui, Ngāi Tahu
Lewis Gardiner is regarded as one of the most innovative and respected Māori jade artists of his generation. In 1994, he graduated in Māori Craft and Design at the Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua. During his final year he was introduced to the valuable medium of pounamu (jade) and was immediately attracted to its artistic possibilities. Māori had always valued pounamu for both its hardness and for its translucent beauty. Lewis was no different — as he says, “Our tupuna (ancestors) have given us, the Māori people, the resource and knowledge base to provide a reference for us and our children for years to come.”
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