Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

He Manawa whenua, He Manawa ora


This sculpture reinforces a connection to our natural environment. That although the majority of this environment has been physically taken away from us through successive governmental processes and acts, we have still maintained the importance of our spiritual connections and value systems surrounding it. The umbilical cord is the symbol of this, it provides us with the Manawa ora (breath of life) to sustain our culture and us. This Manawa ora is in the whenua (land), the maunga (mountains), the awa (rivers), the moana (sea), the reo (language) and the tikanga (ways)—if one can only honour and respect the relationship. It contains and embodies our very identity, it is where our Pahake (elders) our Korero (stories), our Waiata (songs) and our Karakia (prayers) have come from and to where they all return.

Hemi Sundgren

Hemi Sundgren


Te Ati Awa, Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Koata, Ngāti Raukawa

(1975- )

Hemi’s work is underpinned by a strong cultural base and is exploring new forms and techniques and materials to develop new interpretations. He is a talented emerging artist who’s work has been exhibited regionally, nationally and internationally. Hemi’s work as a participating and practising artist is only one of the many roles he currently fulfils. He is an accomplished carver, researcher of whakapapa tribal history, waiata (classical song), ruruku (classical incantaion) and traditional oral histories, particular to the tribes he belongs to.