Hand Carved Kauri Kokako - 33.5cm - by Michael Matchitt
Kauri wood, finished in wax and oil
14cm x 33.5cm x 9cm
This one of a kind piece of art has been hand carved in the indigenous tradition of the Māori from Aotearoa (New Zealand). Whakairo (carving) is a language which transforms Māori cultural ideals into a physical form. For centuries it has been used to record whakapapa (genealogy), traditions, and pūrākau (histories).
This piece is part of the Manu series. Manu (birds) are significant kaitiaki (guardians). In this series the carved space is representative of a womb—a protective repository for taonga (precious objects).
This style is a contemporary interpretation of a rich traditional cultural icon. The form and shape, while modern, are achieved through the use of traditional tools and practices. The artist uses chisel and mallet, not sandpaper, to create the smooth surface and clean lines.
Pākati and haehae are contemporary surface patterns more commonly found in Post-European carvings than their Pre-European predecessors. They can be used to decorate and to represent lines of whakapapa.
About the North Island Kokako:
With their extraordinary haunting song, and obscure evolutionary relationships to other birds, kokako evoke the forests of ancient New Zealand perhaps more than any other species. More likely to be heard than seen, North Island kokako have persisted in small populations particularly in the central North Island. They typically inhabit tall native forest, singing from tree-tops but often feeding in understorey layers.
All mainland North Island populations persist only with sustained control of key pest mammals (ship rats and brushtail possums). All unmanaged populations are extinct.
About NZ Kauri