The Māori people were the original settlers of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Their culture and history is rich and beautiful, and to this day is an important part of New Zealand’s culture. Their legends around the creation of the world and this beautiful land have always captured my imagination.
A Hei Matau is a bone or greenstone depiction of the Hook of Maui. Māori legend holds that the North Island of New Zealand was once a huge fish that was caught by the great mariner Maui using only a woven line and a bone hook. Legend holds that the shape of Hawke Bay is that of the hei matau, which caught in the fish’s side.
For the Māori, the hei matau is taonga (a cultural treasure). It represents not only their land, but also prosperity, fertility and safe passage over water. They also denote the importance of fishing to Māori, and their relationship to Tangaroa, god of the sea.
This Hei Matau is the second one I’ve drawn, the other one also being in my portfolio, hence the name Hei Matau Tuarua, meaning Hei Matau the Second. :)
Original drawing is done in roller ball on 100 gsm cartridge paper, printed on a tee! :)
SOLD – as at Sept 2011, five tees with this image.