A member of the worldwide family of pigeons and doves, the soft voiced Kererū, is one of the most popular of New Zealand’s native birds. A berry eater, the Kererū can become extremely overweight, sometimes making flight a difficulty. This characteristic, plus its friendly disposition towards humans coupled with the delicious taste of its flesh caused it to be easily and eagerly sought after for food by the old time Māori. Numbers have dramatically declined over the years and now the Kererū is a protected species. Conservation is essential to help regenerate these slow-breeding birds as they play a key ecological role in the regeneration of native forests by dispersing seeds of trees and shrubs too large to be dispersed by other birds.
In Māori mythology, Māui, the fabled trickster hero, turned himself into the first Kererū in order to pursue his mother Taranga who disappeared underground at dawn every day. Māui desperately wanted to know where she went. To slow her departure, one night he hid her clothes. Next morning, Taranga, unable to find her clothes disappeared hastily without them. Māui watched as she entered a secret hole in the ground. Māui then transformed into a pigeon and wearing his mother’s skirt flew after her to be reunited. It is now believed that the iridescent plumage of the Kererū is Taranga’s skirt.
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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