Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Kārearea • The Rain Bird


  • Medium: kauri
  • Size: 15 × 22 × 16 inches
  • Reference Code: KX70301

In ancient Māori lore it was believed that birds were not true personifications of gods or man, however particular birds were said to have been able to transcend the different realms and communicate with the gods. The Kārearea is one of these particular birds significant to Māori for possessing such powers and was considered one of the spirit messengers to the gods in the old lore.

The Kārearea is also known for its ability to foretell a change in the weather. Soaring high in the sky it would indicate the forthcoming conditions with its distinguished high-pitched call.

A proverb describing this trait goes as such: “Ka tangi te Kārearea ki waenga o te rangi pai, ka ua āpōpō; ka tangi ki waenga o te rangi ua, ka paki āpōpō.” “If the sparrow hawk screams on a fine day it will rain on the morrow; if it screams on a rainy day it will be fine on the morrow.”

Another variant of the falcon’s name – Kauaua – describes this, as it roughly translates as “heavy rain will come” and explains why this mystical bird of prey was also known as the Rain Bird.

—Todd Couper

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.