The Whai (stingray) has a reputation as being quite an ominous creature of the sea and yet the way in which it glides through the water resembles the graceful flight of a bird in slow motion. These contrasting characteristics can best describe the pouwhenua in its form and function. With a splayed end that tapers to a sharp point, the pouwhenua echoes the shape of whai in an elongated form. I also liken the fighting maneuvers of the pouwhenua to the fluid motions of the whai as these can be deceptive and like the deadly spine on the stingray tail the pouwhenua can inflict a serious wound in the blink of an eye.
Todd attended Te Aute Boys College in Hawkes Bay from 1987 to 1991 and quickly excelled in art. In 1995, he completed the Diploma of Art, Craft and Māori Design at Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua; he majored in woodcarving/sculpture and graduated with honours. It was during this time that he met Roi Toia, who was teaching there. Roi, impressed with his talent, invited Todd to apprentice with him. They continue to work together, but Todd has forged his own style and direction in carving, with commissioned pieces residing in collections in the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. He participated in Kiwa: Pacific Connections (2003) in Vancouver, Canada.
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