Found in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific, the Kāhu is New Zealand’s largest predatory bird. A bird of the open country, they are highly intelligent, have superb eyesight, strong talons, and a vicious hooked beak. Soaring in slow wide circles at heights up to 650 feet, the Kāhu scans the ground for small prey and fresh carrion. Many are sadly killed by vehicles when feasting on road-kills of possum, rabbits and hedgehogs. Despite persecution by farmers and sportsmen in the 1930s and 1940s they survived, and since 1985 have been protected.
Kāhu feathers were valued by the old time Māori as head plumes and decoration for certain hand weaponry. Many tribes also believed the Kāhu was brought to earth as captive by Tāne. Its designated role was to be an envoy to and from the gods. The Kāhu appears in Māori mythology in another Māui story, stating that the colour of the plumage was from being scorched by the fire of Mahuika when trying to destroy Māui.
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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