Tāmaki Innovation Campus


by Paratene Matchitt

Sculpture named Rehua, by artist Paratene Matchitt.
Woods, paua shell, copper.

Paratene Matchitt has been a prominent sculptor in New Zealand since the 1950’s. He was one of the first Māori sculptors to break away from traditional carving styles and materials, towards a modern idiom while still retaining a significant element of Māori content. Among his most important works are those in which he utilises symbols of the Ringatu religion associated with the figure of Te Kooti, namely the cross, the heart, the star, the triangle and the crescent. He has executed several major commissions including a bridge on the Wellington waterfront and a work in the Aotea Centre in Auckland.

In this majestic work Matchitt has combined natural materials such as kauri, cedar and paua shells with by-products of the industrial world such as copper wire and wooden patterns from a machine shop, in creating an image of Rehua, one of the children of Ranginui and Papatuanuku the sky-father and earth-mother of the Māori creation myth. Rehua lives in the tenth heaven in Māori cosmology at a place called Te Putahi nui o Rehua, or the Great Cross-Roads of Rehua, where he was occasionally visited by courageous and aspiring mortals, such as Rupe, brother of the Māori hero Maui, who sought the advice of Rehua when searching for his lost sister Hinauri.