Tatau- adding it up

NZD $2,050


A highly intricate carving from an ancient Southern Right Whale found in Murihiku/Southalnd. Manaia give way to manaia in a forever unfolding of the fractal self.

Exquisitely carved on both sides

This piece of bone was “fished up” from the Foveaux Straight off the coast of Ruapuke Island.

Ruapuke was (at the arrival of Europeans) the stronghold of the Kai Tahu and Kāti Māmoe people. There was a whaling station there and very quickly Māori women and Pākeha sailors found themselves becoming the ancestors of a shared legacy. A new people born of the old tides to the shores of new lifeways.

Tatau is the Māori word for counting but is used in Polynesia to talk about tattoo. Each line, each character represents the count of meaningful experience and legacy we carry on our walk to becoming a complete person. The movable rings on this piece are symbolic of abacus rings, their movement represents the life force. The two rings (rather than the expected 3) remind us that the count may never be finished, we always have room to grow. We are supported by long lines of descent that reach their most powerful potency at us, yet we continue to gather. Some of us look back at life and are proud of things we’ve done, other’s, things we’ve had, others still places we’ve been or connections we’ve made. Already ancient are about the connections.