Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Kaitiaki—Ruru (2003)


The alert watchfulness of the ruru (morepork — small native owl) has entered te reo (the language) — in the word ‘whakaruru’, denoting the action of guardianship, stewardship, vigilance. The ruru has been designed within this print format with the whare (house) in mind. The wings / arms stretch out to cover and provide protection to the manaia figures. The artist has used a manaia form to depict status within the iwi (tribe) at all times. The head of the ruru becomes front and centre of the whare (house) looking towards those approaching. The design on the body of the ruru is inspired from the fern leaf pattern, making a link between all the children of Tāne — mankind, birds and trees.

Gabrielle Belz

Gabrielle Belz


Ngā Puhi, Te Ātiawa

(1947- )

Initially trained as a commercial artist, Gabrielle is now a full-time painter and printmaker. She continues to support and promote art in the local and wider community as current chair of Te Atinga (Committee of Contemporary Māori Visual Arts) of Toi Māori Aotearoa, a founding member of Kauwae (National Māori Women’s Art Collective), trustee of Toi o Manukau, a long-serving member of Nga Puna Waihanga (a national community-oriented organization that supports all Māori arts), a founding member of the artists’ co-operative Pukeko, and she serves on the Creative Community Funds committee for Manukau City.