“Te Manu huna a Tane” (Hidden Bird of Tane) — a saying used to describe people arriving at dark. Tane is known as God of the Forest, a sort of ‘Forest Administrator’, Light and Life Giver.
Kiwi emerges from his burrow, often made in the base of hollow trees, as the night approaches. His pathways through the forest lead him to search. He is inquisitive, poking with his long beak, with his nose right at the end. Kiwi’s feathers are soft like other night birds, allowing them to move quietly. His soft, warm, feathers are reminiscent of the fern leaf shape, are highly prized for ornamenting cloaks and occasionally other prestige items.
One of the kiwi is shown with a manaia type head instead of bird claws, this is to indicate his leg / foot strength and fast speed.
Commonly used in a ‘cutesy-pie’ mode in advertising, it’s difficult to represent his natural form, without reviving the commercial image. In making this print, the artist has attempted to give back to kiwi some of his mana (prestige).
Ngā Puhi, Te Ātiawa
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.
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