Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Mangoroa • Milky Way


This image depicts mangoroa (white pointer shark) referring to the star constellation, Milky Way, within the in-flight form of the kaahu (hawk).

Kaperua is a visual mnemonic that represents a cavity-safe space in which sacred things can be stored, nurtured and protected.

These works are a synthesis of various elements important to the artist. They reference issues that exist currently and are reflected by using images of birds in flight. The birds are kaitiaki (spiritual guardians). The compositions include the artist’s personal references, mokomoko (lizard) — a kaitiaki referencing the deeds of Maui, atua (the gods) representing fear, respect and protection, and Tamanui-te-Ra (the Sun) with its array of powers.

The images allude to the waka (canoe), acknowledging the strong connection to Tangaroa (God of the Ocean), as waka serve as vessels to carry hopes, dreams and aspirations.

Steve Gibbs

Steve Gibbs


Ngāi Tamanuhiri, Ngāti Kahungunu

(1955- )

Steve was born and raised in Gisborne. In 1978 he earned a Diploma in Fine Arts from the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he majored in painting, printmaking and art history, then completed a Diploma in Secondary Teaching at the Christchurch College of Education in 1979. He has worked as a lecturer in Māori Design at Christchurch Polytechnic and, since 1994, as principal tutor at Toihoukura School of Māori Visual Arts at the Tairāwhiti Polytechnic in Gisborne.