Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

He Moko Mo Te Ika • Tattooed Fish


  • Medium: clay, oxides
  • Size: 19.5 × 8 × 6 inches
  • Reference Code: KX30644

Patterning on the abstracted fish shape was inspired by patterns found on ancient Lapita vessels in the Pacific. Adapted Lapita patterns continue to be used by the Lapita Polynesian descendants, including the Maori of New Zealand. The adapted motifs are particularly associated with the fibre arts of Polynesian women and with ta moko or tattau (tattoo).

Colleen Waata Urlich

Colleen Waata Urlich



Te Popoto o Ngā Puhi Ki Kaipara


Largely self-taught, Colleen developed her interest in pottery while completing an art major at Auckland Teachers College. She continued to experiment during the 1970s, encouraged by Alec Musha, one of the first Māori potters. She believes strongly in tradition, decorating with traditional Māori weaving patterns or by adding muka (flax fibre), feathers or shell to her works. For her, “working with clay means working with the body of Mother Earth, she who influences and sustains us physically and spiritually.”