Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Flute of Tutanekai


  • Medium: whalebone
  • Size: 5 × 1.5 × 1.25 inches
  • Reference Code: KT40705

Based on the story of Hinemoa and Tutanekai, two famous lovers. Tutanekai lived on an island called Mokoia, and Hinemoa lived on the mainland. The dutiful daughter, she was waiting to have a husband chosen for her by her family. However, Tutanekai was deeply in love with her and she innocently returned his love, but their tribes would not allow the marriage, because Tutanekai was illegitimately born.

The despondent Tutanekai would play his flute every night and Hinemoa would sadly sit at the water’s edge listening. It finally became too unbearable for her to be apart from her love, so she tied three gourds together under each arm and swam the 4 kilometers over to the island to be with him. Tutanekai found her warming herself in a hotpool and took her back to his home. The next morning they awoke, fearing a war between the two tribes — but to their surprise, the tribes made a peace — and there was much celebrating. The pair continued to live together happily and had many distinguished descendants.

Kerry Kapua Thompson

Kerry Kapua Thompson


Ngāti Paoa

(1967- )

Kerry has been carving for twenty-two years in many materials and is possibly the leading artist working in bone. Although he attended a diploma course in Māori design at Waiariki Polytechnic in Rotorua and learned from Hepi Maxwell, Rex Christianson and other artists working in the same materials, his style of carving and two-tone staining process are uniquely his own.