Human occupation of Aotearoa (New Zealand) occurred 1000 plus years ago. Aotearoa then, was a land covered with forests of trees, some giant, and these forests teemed with birds, some flightless — there was not one single predatory mammal to menace them. The surrounding sea, harbours and coastline also, was the home to countless species of seabirds and these birds played a very important role in supporting early sea-voyagers.
Leaving Hawaiki, their legendary Pacific homeland, Polynesian sailors in relatively small seagoing craft guided by the stars, sea currents and the flight path of migratory birds sailed south and reached the shores of Aotearoa. They settled and became the Māori, the tangata whenua, the people of the land. Imagine, after weeks at sea, the relief and excitement these early sea voyagers experienced on sighting circling sea birds and realizing land was near.
Several years ago I was given several tōtara wood farm fence posts. They may have been 100 years old and all except one were unsuitable for carving. Despite the obvious flaws caused by the ravages of time, from the single post I kept, “Seabird Soaring” was created. I gave the old post new life.
Hopefully my sculpture resembles the vision of a soaring seabird. It is my tribute to all seabirds.
Te Rarawa, Ngāti Paoa, Te Ātiawa
Rex Homan was born 1940 in Thames, New Zealand of Māori, Irish and Scottish ancestry. He lived in Auckland in his early years before moving to the Bay of Plenty. Rex has earned international recognition as a wood sculptor in the 1960s and 1970s and began working in bronze in the 1980s. His current work is influenced by the culture of the Pacific and displays uniqueness in its diversity of form and dramatic flow of lines. Rex has exhibited in solo, group and jury shows. He has won several national awards for “National Wood Skills” and is represented in corporate and private collections worldwide.
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