Widespread in Australia, the South Pacific, Asia and Japan, the bird known in New Zealand as the Kotuku or White Heron, is also found in suitable habitats throughout Europe where it is given the name Great White Heron, Great White Egret or the Large Egret.
Rare in New Zealand with only two hundred birds existing, the Kotuku with its pure white plumage is graceful, aristocratic and has a concentrated rapier-like stance.
A colonial breeder in New Zealand, only one breeding colony is known, a lake in the lower west coast of the South Island. Outside of the breeding season, the birds disperse all over the country. Frequenting estuaries, rivers and lakeshores, the Kotuku is a solitary feeder catching small fish, eels and frogs with its long sharp beak.
In Māori legend, the Kotuku accompanied the wairua (souls or spirits) of the dead from Cape Reinga at the tip of North Island, the spiritual place of departure, back to the world of their ancestors. Held sacred by the old time Māori, the Kotuku’s long wing feathers were treasured for head adornment and were only worn by those of high rank.
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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