Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)



  • Medium: tōtara, pounamu (New Zealand jade)
  • Size: 21 × 10.5 × 8.5 inches
  • Reference Code: K60601

“Pounamu / Greenstone (Nephrite jade) is a very precious and prized stone to Māori, so much so that is has its own Whakapapa (genealogy). There are many different types of Pounamu in Aotearoa (New Zealand) each with their own names and unique characteristics. Pounamu was used in many ways practically, decoratively and ceremonially from making tools and weapons to beautifully carved adornments such as the Heitiki. Pounamu us mainly found on the west coast of the South Island and does not occur in the North Island at all so the rarity of this stone makes it even more sort after.

“The concept of the Wakapounamu is to highlight the importance of this much treasured resource, and to emphasize its beauty when either carved into a work of art or as it lay in its natural form. The Tiki form is a symbol of fertility, and here it personifies the beginning of life of the Pounamu, as it is born from the land. The Ruru (owl) acts as the Kaitiaki (guardian) of the stone and the message it emanates is that we must protect, nurture and indeed honour such a valued treasure.”

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.