Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Te Ahuatanga O Tiki • The Shaping of Tiki


  • Medium: pounamu (New Zealand jade), feathers (kiwi), muka (New Zealand flax fibre), tōtara base
  • Size: 15.75 × 18.75 × 3.5 inches (incl. base)
  • Reference Code: KL140403

In many tribal narratives, Tiki Ahua is attributed as being the first man. Tribal atua (tribal gods) converged at Kura Waka to impart their knowledge systems into the creation of his form, hence the association of Tiki with knowledge. The fluidity of design incorporated on the whale tail creates a sense of movement, liken to the currents and swirls from the propulsion of the tail though the water. From these many currents became the tangible form of the Tiki.

—Lewis Gardiner

Lewis Tamihana Gardiner

Lewis Tamihana Gardiner


Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Whanau a Apanui, Ngāi Tahu

(1972- )

Lewis Gardiner is regarded as one of the most innovative and respected Māori jade artists of his generation. In 1994, he graduated in Māori Craft and Design at the Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua. During his final year he was introduced to the valuable medium of pounamu (jade) and was immediately attracted to its artistic possibilities. Māori had always valued pounamu for both its hardness and for its translucent beauty. Lewis was no different — as he says, “Our tupuna (ancestors) have given us, the Māori people, the resource and knowledge base to provide a reference for us and our children for years to come.”