Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Tunaroa • The Progenitor of Eels


This piece symbolizes the nature of the slaying of Tunaroa (the progenitor of eels) by Maui, whose oral traditions have become key foundational reference points throughout Māori and Pacific cultures. This particular tradition lays out a blueprint for the harvesting of eels and other forms of fish life. This employs particular methods in the utilizing of specific materials to manufacture weaved baskets and to construct eel weirs. The overall shape of this sculpture relates to the shape of these weaved baskets, or Hinaki in which eels were caught. Tunaroa is the central figure while symbols of other forms of fish adorn the back side.

Hemi Sundgren

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.