Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Māui’s Hook


“Māui, a powerful ancient ancestor of the Maori, is said to have fished the South Island of Aoteaora using his mother’s jaw bone as a hook. Unfortunately this main detail is all that I know of Māui’s heroic feat.

My carving is more of a tribute to a present-day cultural hero by the name of The Flaming Heart, otherwise known as Derek Lardelli, a moko master of the Ngati Porou people of the East Cape. A very important and famous artist in his own right, I had the honour and privilege of having him as one of my welcoming hosts at Apu Moana Marae in Rotorora at an indigenous arts gathering, Te Atinga 1995.

Later, in my extended visit as a guest at his home, I saw a very beautiful and powerful lithograph print by him of Māui’s Hook. The jaw-bone with moko etched into it was so elegant and powerful in it’s directness and simplicity that it has kept me overwhelmed and inspired to this day.

It speaks to me of how any man in his lifetime, through greatness of heart and mind, can live the soul of his people and be the wind to a sail of history.”

Joe David

Joe David


(1946- )

Joe David was born in 1946 at Opitsaht, a Clayoquot village on Meares Island, on the western shore of Vancouver Island. The family resettled to Seattle, Washington, in 1958—and they moved frequently during his teen years. His father, Hyacinth David, was a respected chief and elder of the Clayoquot nation, and even though he had removed his family from Nuu-chah-nulth territory, he remained connected to the village and practiced the traditional values and ceremonies.