With wings large enough to darken the sky and the strength and speed to seize and carry a man, Te Poukai terrorised the ancient Māori.
To satisfy its desire for human flesh Te Poukai would prey on unsuspecting victims, carrying these unfortunates to its cave where they would be killed and devoured.
Te Poukai did however meet its fate.
Using a friend as bait, Pungarehu, a man of great mana (prestige), lured Te Poukai out of its cave. Before the great bird captured his friend, Pungarehu attacked it with his stone mere (club) and broke its left wing. A second blow broke the right wing rendering Te Poukai totally disabled and easy to kill, much to the great relief of all the people.
This stylized Te Poukai is sculpted from Kauri (Agathis Australis) a New Zealand native wood. The surface decoration is contemporary Māori and has no significance in a traditional sense.
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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