Tuatara Origins – Peketua (the son of the earth mother, Papatuanuku, and the sky father, Ranginui) made an egg from clay and took it to Tane, God of the forest, who said, ‘Me Whakaira Tangata’ (give it life). This egg then produced the first Tuatara.
Kaitiaki is a person, group or being that acts as a caretaker, guardian, protector and conserver. The Gods of the natural world were considered to be the original Kaitiaki – for instance, Tane, God of the forest, was the Kaitiaki of the forest. All other Kaitiaki emulate the original ones.
Tuatara’s represent some of the ancient ones that prepared the way for what was to come during the creation of earth, they oversee the original plans set down by the Gods.
There are two ancient ones looking in opposite directions, one sees all that has been, the other all that is to come, the Carving represents a Waka (canoe) traveling through time with the ancients observing its course.
The canoe represents the journey of evolution of those residing within Papatuanuku (Earth mother) traveling through the sea of Ranginui (Sky father) at the helm is a baby Tuatara representing the future, new hope and discovering new horizons while always supported by a vast and wise genealogy
The Tuatara’s are carved from the Pohutakawa tree. A very hard and resilient wood, rarely carved due to the challenges it presents. The Pohutakawa tree produces prolific crimson blooms and is a Taonga (treasure) due to its significant beauty. The Pohutakawa is planted in memory of chiefs. Its healing power is recognized in bark juice and the nectar for diverse complaints.
Article From the Northern Advocate
Marae inspires artist to gift carvings
A master artist has donated many thousands of dollars’ worth of swamp kauri carvings to a Far North marae.
Kerry Strongman, of The Arts Factory in Te Hana, said he was moved to donate the sculptures, which stand up to 3m tall, because he was so impressed by the marae’s revitalisation.
During the past week Haititai Marangai Marae has been the centre of a huge community effort as up to 150 volunteers backed by Department of Conservation staff, army trades apprentices, suppliers, sponsors and a Marae DIY TV crew rebuilt what had been a cluster of dilapidated buildings.
People whose whakapapa links them to the marae at Whatuwhiwhi, on the Karikari Peninsula, came from as far away as Australia, Christchurch and Wellington to help.
Mr Strongman said the carvings had taken many months of work but the gift came with no strings attached.
“It has no monetary value to me, it has only aroha,” he said.
He said he was filled with admiration for the marae and honoured to be part of its rebirth.
“What’s happening here is a miracle with all these young people coming back. This is the first time I’ve seen the total re-awakening of a marae.”
The gifts are three large matau (fish hooks) symbolising abundance, two inlaid with kauri gum and one with three barbs representing body, mind and spirit or any set of three qualities.
A spiral called Awhi represents the circle of love and family, “all the dynamics of life, from the self to the creator and back”, while a 3m high pouwhenua (marker post) represents new beginnings.
Mr Strongman was taught to carve as a 4-year-old by his grandfather. After working overseas he came home to carve kauri from buried forests up to 40,000 years old.
“My koro told me swamp kauri comes from a time of tranquillity and peace, before man was here, before colonisation, before raruraru [argument] pulled people apart.”
Mr Strongman’s work can be seen around the world, particularly in Holland, the USA and UK. His work for the corporate world allows him to give carvings away and run an informal carving school.
One of his pou stands outside Whangarei Library.
STRONGMAN IS HERE 2!
The exhibition shows a collection of monumental sculptures created by Kerry Strongman from 25,000 to 45,000 year old New Zealand swamp Kauri. These sculptural works are imposing and transformative, blending ancient and modern sculptural techniques and philosophies. The atmosphere and presence of Kerry Strongman’s work can only be fully appreciated when experienced at first hand. The artist even encourages people to physically touch his work.
Kerry Strongman only produces works that will bring pleasure to the eye as well as the mind. Always in the positive, never in the negative.
The Kauri tree, named ‘Ancient Watcher’ or ‘Guardian’ by the Maori, can attain heights of 40 to 50 metres and trunk diameters of over 5 metres. Kauri trees are a protected species nowadays. All the ancient swamp Kauri wood Kerry Strongman uses has been salvaged from the swamps of the North Island, where the once huge prehistoric forests stood. Strongman not only carves and sculpts the ancient swamp Kauri. He works in many mediums, such as stone, various metals, crystal, amber, bronze, whalebone and jade glass.
Wherever Kerry Strongman’s artworks are placed, they seem to create inspirational environments; some even say they have a calming influence on the viewer and the environment.
Ancestral knowledge and mythology play a significant role in Maori and Pacific culture. The different Maori symbols have diverse meanings and ideas associated with them. This symbolism is expressed in the form of carvings in wood, bone, jade and other stones, but also in songs, dance, weaving and other art forms.
Examples of these mythological, principal forms – from Maori as well as Celtic and European influences – can readily be identified in many of Kerry Strongman’s artworks.
About Kerry Strongman
Born in the King country of Irish, Scottish, European and Maori heritage, Kerry Strongman (1948) retired from the business world 16 years ago to become a full time artist.
Strongman has traveled extensively and draws his artistic inspiration from a wide range of cultural and philosophical viewpoints.
Most of Kerry Strongman’s sculptures find a home in private collections of art collectors who appreciate great forms and extremely rare timber. Artworks by Kerry Strongman have found their way into governmental, commercial and corporate buildings as well. There, the artworks have been put on display in areas such as receptions, lobbies and public art spaces.
Sales, exhibitions, general inquiries about
the art works of Kerry Strongman:
Kerry Strongman – Master Artist:
Kerry in a recent TVNZ TV1 talking about the new Auckland Super City
Kerry Strongman is embraced worldwide by other Shamans and Medicine People as a fully awaken being. He is an incredible wisdom keeper and is a highly respected Elder in his Iwi. “Healing through sculptures created in 25,000-45,000 year old swamp kauri trees,” will be his topic. World renowned for his artworks, which have been purchased by the likes of Shell Oil Company in Holland and exhibited all over the world. His delightful sense of humor brings lightness and laughter to his captivating talks. Kerry Strongman will be speaking at Seven Hills Health Expo on April 15, 2011.
Click play for interview
New Zealand Maori Shaman, Kerry Strongman – Friday, April 15 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Hear a radio interview with Kerry Strongman on Global Sharing
Discover the relationship between health and shamanistic art
The story of ‘THE Rivers of Life’& ‘The Ten Path Ways’
the double sided carved Kauri disc
The double sided Disc started its life in the ancient kauri swamps of Northland New Zealand some 25,000 to 45,000 thousand years ago. A great apocalyptic event felled these great giants and covered them with earth and sand. Here they lay until they were salvaged from their resting place to make way for productive farm land. It was at this time Artist sculptor Kerry Strongman salvaged the tree that this wondrous Artifact was created from.
On the side that is named ‘The Rivers of Life’ a rhythmic wave flows around the complete circle of the disc. This represents the river of the life continuum, from mortality to immortality.
The circle of all things living.
The second side represents ‘The Ten pathways’ The ten pathways could be interpreted many ways. For the Artist it is the journey from the beyond to the beyond. From conception to immortality. To Be Free of the mortal. It is said by the ancients that there are ten major “Pathways” or “Journeys” one takes during ones existence here on earth and that it is usually different for all of us.
The artist wishes you safe passage on “Your Life’s Journeys”
The outer edge of the disc represents the circle of life, the universe, the supreme being.
The inner circle of negative or no space represents past. present and future
This story and sculpture and its stories are hereby humbly tendered to you both or your enjoyment and pleasure.
Kerry Strongman Master Artist 9th of September 2010
New Zealand Maori Shaman, Kerry Strongman – Friday, April 15 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Kerry Strongman has been embraced by many Shamans, Tohunga’s (Maori Shaman) and Medicine men from Aboriginal peoples throughout the world. Kerry draws on much inherent and acquired knowledge in creating these special pieces. The atmosphere and presence of Kerry’s work can only be fully appreciated when experienced first hand. Due to much needed healing and understanding throughout the world, Kerry is exhibiting these works in many of the worlds major cities.