About the carving




Maui's Dwelling Place is a significant modern New Zealand Maori artwork carved with traditional style and attitude. This complex and intricate sculpture is comprised of Pounamu greenstone (nephrite jade), kauri, and sperm whalebone (with paua pearl inlay), representing the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms which support mankind. 

A joint project of two modern Maori carvers, the whalebone and kauri base was carved by Chris "Kiri" Matatahi, and the Pounamu greenstone was carved by Peter Plumb. 

The whalebone depicts Nature's Order - all the natural Gods that are of benefit to humanity. No Gods of war or the undergrowth are depicted. 

The pounamu face is that of Maui, the great Polynesian navigator. Maui's presence in this sculpture represents his communion with the gods for the betterment of all human beings. Encircled by the whale bone carving depicting Nature's Gods, Maui demonstrates the connection and balance between humans and the realm of the Gods, as well as the interconnectedness of all things. 

The deep significance of this carving exhibits the traditional training of the artists.

The sculpture stands approximately 1 metre tall. The whalebone is 79 cm long and 40 cm wide at the furthest points. The greenstone face is 21 cm tall and 13 cm wide at their furthest points. The base is NZ kauri wood and greenstone. Three paua pearls are inlaid in the upper area of the whalebone.

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