One of four species of tern breeding in New Zealand, the Taranui is the world’s largest and is also found in other parts of the world. Breeding in colonies on beaches, the Taranui is not as numerous as the other species. The Taranui is streamlined in appearance with pointed wings and a forked tail. It is a powerful but not a graceful flyer. They feed mainly on fish, hovering high over the water and then diving—plunging deep into the water for their catch.
This species was first recorded in the 1860s but were not common till the 1970s. They have conservation status as protected rare native birds and classified as nationally vulnerable. Like all ground breeding shore birds, their population has been reduced nationally, as they are susceptible to human disturbance, such as four-wheel drive vehicles in dune areas, and the planting of pine forests and marram grass on sand spits.
Artist Comment: All artworks have been sculpted and recycled from recovered damaged fragments from trees felled scores of years ago, which escaped the saws of the timber mill. By way of storm and flood relics eventually came to rest on oceans foreshores and river banks near the sculptor’s homes”.
Te Rarawa, Ngāti Paoa, Te Ātiawa
Rex Homan was born 1940 in Thames, New Zealand of Māori, Irish and Scottish ancestry. He lived in Auckland in his early years before moving to the Bay of Plenty. Rex has earned international recognition as a wood sculptor in the 1960s and 1970s and began working in bronze in the 1980s. His current work is influenced by the culture of the Pacific and displays uniqueness in its diversity of form and dramatic flow of lines. Rex has exhibited in solo, group and jury shows. He has won several national awards for “National Wood Skills” and is represented in corporate and private collections worldwide.
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