“The Nihotaniwha (niho teeth, taniwha fabulous creature) pattern is traditionally used in tukutuku (stitched, woven latticework). Tukutuku panels adorn the interior walls between the carved poupou (ancestral figures) in the whare whakairo (carved meeting house). Within our tribal area, tukutuku panels are said to represent the living descendants of the ancestors. Nihotaniwha is also the principle motif of taniko (weaving on the hems of cloaks) and symbolically illustrates the realm of mythology. The saw-edged teeth pattern represents the chief and his lineage from the gods.”
Te Roroa, Ngāti Whātua, Ngā Puhi
Alex worked in traditional materials such as bone, shell, stone and wood until the late 1980s when his brother, Manos, introduced him to Michael Kabotie, the Hopi silversmith. Now Alex works exclusively with silver as his primary material and uses traditional materials as highlights. Adapting and exploring traditional Māori designs within the silver medium, he incorporates traditional motifs in his uniquely constructed and carved silver pieces.
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