Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Niho Rei Kuri / Dog Tooth (Symbol of Strength)


  • Medium: tōtara
  • Size: 72 × 22 × 16 inches
  • Reference Code: K50502

This piece acknowledges the ancient art of weaving and the strength associated with that art form and its durable materials. The kuri (native dog) was originally brought to Aotearoa by our ancestors, but over time it became extinct. Dog skin was prized when it adorned cloaks (kahu kuri) because it has valuable qualities of strength and durability.

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.