Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Kāhui Whetū: Contemporary Māori art, a carver’s perspective


  • Medium: softcover
  • Size: 10 × 8.25 inches, 188 pages

Roi Toia and Todd Couper are exceptional contemporary carvers, based in Rotorua, New Zealand. Their works come out of tribal histories, cosmology and a keen spiritual awareness; these are contemporary carvings that blossom from knowledge of ancient lore, primarily Maori, but open to and encompassing other cultures. This book is a result of 35 years of collective experience actively working within the confines of the carving fraternity.

The sensitive photography of the pieces in this book serves to highlight the spirituality and beauty of the carvings. Each carving is accompanied by text that explains its mythological genesis, information about the medium, size and techniques used, where the piece resides and why the artist chose each particular form.

The foreword for the book has been written by June Northcroft Grant, another well-known and respected Maori artist. Of Roi and Todd, she says:

“If this were the 1800s, Roi Toia and Todd Couper would have revered status as master carvers in their respective tribes of Ngapuhi and Ngati Kahungunu. … There are fewer young men in our communities taking on the challenge of a career in carving. This is why people like Roi Toia and Todd Couper are such extraordinary people. They have endured the rigours of their apprenticeships in their chosen field and the result is that they have taken their carving to another level of excellence. They are not only great carvers, they are great people, having a sincere humility, kindness and a wonderful sense of manaakitanga, a word that expresses unconditional giving and caring for mankind.”

  • Written by Roi Toia and Todd Couper
  • Foreword by June Northcroft Grant
  • Photographs by Kerry Grant, Kenji Nagai and Jack Inwood
  • Published in New Zealand by Reed Publishing