The title of this poi is Te Makariri ( the cold). This poi represents Hine takurua, the winter maiden, she is a wife of Tama-nui-te-rā (the Sun). In our stories of old it is the responsibility of Hine takurua to keep the land cool to preserve our food, to avoid it spoiling so that it last through her cold months. This is depicted through the stylized pattern I utilized to create this poi, Rau kūmara, which represents the leaves of the kūmara (sweet potato), a staple winter food for us the Māori people.
—Cori Buster Marsters
Poi are round light ball forms on varying lengths of flax cords that are twirled rhythmically at speed usually by Māori women accompanied by songs in kapahaka performances to improve hand and eye coordination. Poi were traditionally made of raupō leaves. In the days of old poi were also used by our warriors to make their wrist supple and strengthen the tendons as many of our Māori weapons were very heavy and it also helped with the warriors eye co-ordination for hand to hand combat. However the poi tāniko were very rare and reserved for special occasions to celebrate the rising of star constellations, the flight of comets, and were only to be used by puhi (high-born maidens).
Cori for a young man has an ability to sit, listen and watch. It is from these simple a things Cori has absorbed many things Maori. From an early age Cori would sit with his Nan and learn about the practical and functional process of weaving, never realising that weaving was in fact an art form in its own right. Cori knew of his whakapapa link to a carving family (Ngati Pukaki) so this inspired him to look at the art of Whakairo (carving) to expand and satisfy his search for knowledge. Cori studied Whakairo at New Zealand Maori Arts and crafts institute in Rotorua. A big part of what makes Cori’s work stand out across his disciplines is drive to strive for excellence that was achieved by his ancestors. “I take inspiration from our Tupuna and everything I do is an acknowledgement to them.”
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