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Pokotiwha or Tawaki • Fiordland Crested Penguins

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Penguins only occur in the southern hemisphere and most species frequent sub-Antarctic islands of the southern oceans.

Flightless and somewhat clumsy on land, the penguin makes up for this inefficiency by displaying remarkable agility and power in the water when in pursuit of prey such as krill, squid and small fish.

Eight species of penguin breed in the New Zealand region and three inhabit the mainland. One of these is the Fiordland Crested Penguin, which is now becoming quite rare. These birds live in caves and the rocky foreshore of Fiordland and South Westland of New Zealand.

The small population of penguins has declined since the late 1980s and become vulnerable to introduced predators such as dogs, cats, stoats and rats, as well as the Weka (Woodhen) which preys on eggs and chicks.

It is said in Māori mythology that because of the absence of life in these isolated areas penguins were placed there to colonize by the early explorer Kupe on one of his visits to Aotearoa. The common Māori name, Pokotiwha means “gleaming head” referring to the conspicuous large yellow crest the bird displays.

Other available artwork you might like by Rex Homan:

Rex Homan

Rex Homan

Māori

Te Rarawa, Ngāti Paoa, Te Ātiawa

(1940- )

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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Spirit Wrestler Gallery

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