Hei Matau Tuawha

Tara Lemana

Wellington, New Zealand

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Artist's Description

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.

Rollerball on 100gsm cartridge paper.

Featured in New Zealand Made 21 March 2009
Featured in Finks Of Inks Oct 14, 2010.

Artwork Comments

  • Jenny Dean
  • Tara Lemana
  • viennablue
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  • BGlatzeder
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  • Cathleen Tarawhiti
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  • Duncan FitzGerald
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  • doreeN Zhang
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  • doreeN Zhang
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  • Ken Wright
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  • Rhonda Strickland
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  • artisandelimage
  • Tara Lemana
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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