Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Niho Taniwha • Shark’s Tooth


Customary Māori tribal narratives have differing points of origin and means of travel, for the migration of our forebears from Hawaiki to Aotearoa. The common thread however is that we traversed the expanse of Te Moananui A Kiwa (The Pacific Ocean). Detailed accounts note the following of traditional migratory whale paths and our vessels being accompanied by sharks. The two oceanic entities seem intertwined like the material relationship of this form – the tooth of a shark, the bone of a whale. The traditional account would be retold orally, yet here we use material culture to exhibit the narrative.

—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.”