The matakite (seer) has the ability to see into the spirit world. This special gift was considered rare, so she would sometimes be given important status. Many matakite kept their gift a secret as not to elevate themselves higher than their respected elders. Quite often the whanau (family) would only find out their ability on their death bed. The heru (traditional comb) is made up of manaia (guardian spirit) design elements. Manaia are the connectors to the spirit world where questions about the past and the future can be answered under the guidance of the matakite.
Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Whanau a Apanui, Ngāi Tahu
Lewis Gardiner is regarded as one of the most innovative and respected Māori jade artists of his generation. In 1994, he graduated in Māori Craft and Design at the Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua. During his final year he was introduced to the valuable medium of pounamu (jade) and was immediately attracted to its artistic possibilities. Māori had always valued pounamu for both its hardness and for its translucent beauty. Lewis was no different — as he says, “Our tupuna (ancestors) have given us, the Māori people, the resource and knowledge base to provide a reference for us and our children for years to come.”
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