Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Tu • God of War



In Māori mythology, Tu, a fierce warrior, a son of Ranginui, Sky Father, and Papatūānuku, Earth Mother personifies the origins of warfare. In the best-known version of the myth, of all gods, only Tu is brave enough to stand up to his brother, the god of winds, Tāwhirimātea, who regularly attacks the earth. In anger Tu retaliates against his other brothers, Tāne, Tangaroa, Rongo, Haumia who did not assist him in his stand against Tāwhirimātea.

Tu’s reaction sets the pattern for future warfare. Men make war now because Tu did so in the beginning. The war chant performed by warriors going into battle was believed to have composed and performed for the first time by Tu.

The tattoo design is contemporary Māori and is purely decorative. It has no significance in a traditional sense. For many years I used a section of an old recovered kauri wood log as a chopping block. When the time came to replace the block I split it in half. To my surprise the grain looked interesting and I decided to create a work using it. Despite its extremely resinous nature creating finishing difficulties, the chopping block, instead of becoming ash became “Tu Matuenga,” Māori God of War.

—Rex Homan

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.