Thursday, August 13, 2009
I photographed this carving on my recent travels in the North Island – in Gisborne, near the bridge that crosses the Turanganui River in the centre of town. It was designed by Derek Lardelli and Te Aturangi Nepia Clamp and it was carved by Te Aturangi Nepia Clamp and Bill Baker. The carving is shaped in the form of a tauihu (canoe prow) in honour of the early seafaring Maori ancestors, who were sailing confidently around the Pacific Ocean centuries before European sailors.
It is an elaborate entwining of ancestry from the beginning of time to present day and includes representations of Tangaroa (God of the Sea), Maui (half god, half man), Toi Kai Rakau, an early ancestor, along with spirals representing the separation of Ranginui (Sky Father) and Papatuanuku (Earth Mother). In addition to his work as a carver, Derek Lardelli is also highly regarded as one of New Zealand’s finest ta moko artists. He also works as a visual artist, graphic designer, a composer and kapa haka performer and as a Maori researcher. Te Aturangi Nepia Clamp is internationally and nationally regarded for his carvings.