Endemic to New Zealand, the Mātātā belongs to an older family of birds with ancestors reaching back millions of years.
Being isolated in a relatively predator free environment for such a long period of time has made the Mātātā a poor flyer.
Named the Fernbird not because of its habitat, fresh water and tidal wetlands fringed with low scrubland, but because of its fern like tail feathers.
Highly secretive, the Mātātā hides in vegetation where it lives mainly on insects.
Once widespread and abundant it has suffered from loss of habitat caused by European settlement but has adapted well to a changing environment and manages to maintain reasonable numbers.
The biggest threat to the Mātātā’s survival has to be the danger of continued drainage of wetland areas for development. This generally involves chemical spraying and burning and because of his poor flight the Mātātā may not escape.
Artist Comment: All artworks have been sculpted and recycled from recovered damaged fragments from trees felled scores of years ago, which escaped the saws of the timber mill. By way of storm and flood relics eventually came to rest on oceans foreshores and river banks near the sculptor’s homes”.
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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