Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)



  • Medium: kauri, granite base
  • Size: 8 × 34 × 2.5 inches (excl. base)
    10.5 × 34 × 8 inches (incl. base)
  • Reference Code: K151001

The ruru (Morepork) is one of the very few birds of prey in New Zealand. It’s the only predator bird that hunts in the cover of darkness and is sometimes referred to as “the hidden bird of Tane”(god of the forest). Therefore tradition describes it as a bird of great mystery and is believed to have come from the underworld. Due to this enigma, the ruru is recognized by Maori as having special powers and is often looked upon as a kaitiaki (ancestral guardian). In certain areas such as Northland, the morepork was known as Hineruru (owl woman) and she had the power to guide protect and advise. She could detect and announce the forthcoming arrival of visitors and even warn of death.

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.