Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Punga, The Father of Nasty Creatures, in the Guise of a Whai (Stingray)


In Māori mythology rays are sometimes considered offspring of Punga, father of all creatures ugly, unfriendly and dangerous. True, the ray, in self-defense can inflict painful wounds with its dangerous spines; however I personally believe the ray’s positives far outweigh any negatives. For symmetry, grace and sheer fluidity of form and movement the ray to me is a beautiful creature.

I was very fortunate to have to have a wood turner uncle bequeath to me his collection of wood. One piece of kauri exceptionally attractive had good length and width but unfortunately not a great deal of depth. What to create from it? The Stingray being a flat creature with beautiful flowing birdlike wings had to be the choice. As an extra dimension I have introduced, in disguise, Punga, in Māori mythology the father of ugly nasty creatures including the Stingray. Is the Stingray ugly? I certainly do not believe so.

—Rex Homan

*Exhibited in “Call of Taranaki,” August 16 – November 17, 2013 at Puke Ariki, New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Rex Homan

Rex Homan


Te Rarawa, Ngāti Paoa, Te Ātiawa

(1940- )

Rex Homan was born 1940 in Thames, New Zealand of Māori, Irish and Scottish ancestry. He lived in Auckland in his early years before moving to the Bay of Plenty. Rex has earned international recognition as a wood sculptor in the 1960s and 1970s and began working in bronze in the 1980s. His current work is influenced by the culture of the Pacific and displays uniqueness in its diversity of form and dramatic flow of lines. Rex has exhibited in solo, group and jury shows. He has won several national awards for “National Wood Skills” and is represented in corporate and private collections worldwide.