Medium framed Maori artwork


Medium framed Maori art featuring the tiki, wheku and manaia. Contemporary Maori art by our talented Maori artist Mike.

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Medium framed Maori artwork. Another popular Maori artwork with the three largest and most popular of their Maori designs; the Tiki, the Wheku & the Manaia. Each is crafted from plantation grown gaboon using laser technology and boasts super fine detail & Paua inlay.

The artwork pieces are mounted on a lightly toned koru background with black matt board surround in a custom glass covered shadow box frame with related story to back.

Each artwork is signed by the artist and included on the back is his bio, along with detailed artwork meanings and mythology for each Maori design.

  • Overall size medium framed Maori artwork:
    282mm x 163mm x 25mm (11.10″x6.42″x0.98″)
  • description at the back of the frame

Hei Tiki

Hei means ‘to wear around the neck’, Tiki means ‘first man. Contemporary Maori art.

The origins of ‘Tiki’ are uncertain but throughout Maoridom he is acknowledged as the first man and that he came from the stars. he is sometimes depicted as an amphibious person with large fishloke eyes and webbed feet and considered the teacher of all things.

In some accounts of ancient Maori folklore ‘Tiki’ was the first man created by ‘Tane’ (God of the Forests and Men). ; Tiki’ formed woman from the earth after admiring his own reflection in the water.

More info ‘hei tiki’:

“Hei Tiki” were regarded as precious taonga (treasures) and were predominantly carved from pounamu (greenstone). It is thought that the diverse forms of “Tiki” were the result of the carver being constrained by the shape of his stone as it was extremely hard and difficult to shape with primitive grinding tools.

“Hei Tiki” had spiritual significance to Maori. They were passed down from generation to generation and it was believed that they acquired the importance and power (mana) of each of the passed tipuna (ancestors) to have worn it.

The colonising Europeans assumed the “Hei Tiki” worn as a pendant by Maori women was primarily a fertility symbol and they became sought after as a valuable trading commodity.


Wheku means ‘carved face’

The Wheku as found at he apex of the gable on the front of a large carved house, symbolises an important ancestor after who the house was named. The house itself represents his body. The sloping bargeboards being his maihi (arms), the heke (rafters) being his ribs and the inside being his poho (stomach or bosom).

More info wheku:

The head is usually represented on its own with no part of the body visible. In old houses it is actually carved on the projecting end of the tahuhu (ridgepole), and the body of the figure will be seen on the ridgepole.

There are many tribal variations in how the head is represented. The three main styles of head in Maori carving are: the wheku, the koruru, and the ruru, each distinguished by the shape around the eyes.

Te Manaia

The manaia is a spiritual guardian.

The manaia is a guardian spirit (a supernatural being) and plays an important role in the Maori world. To the Maori every person on Earth has a Guardian Spirit which can be described as an unseen light surrounding each individual.

During life this guardian is a protector from evil and untimely accident. At death the guardian guides the spirit of the departed person safely to a spiritual doorway where it is re-united with the ancestors from the ancient homeland of Hawaiki.

More info manaia:

Te Manaia (the manaia) are usually depicted in side profile, symbolising their role as messengers (ie. part in the spirit world and part in the earthly world).

They normally have the had of a bird (sky) the body of a man (earth) and the tail of a fish (sea) symbolic of the balance they have between the realms.

The three fingers and toes have varied tribal meanings. To some they represent birth, life and death. To others they represent the three baskets of knowledge and yet to others faith, hope and love.

Sometimes Te Manaia is depicted with a fourth finger, symbolising the afterlife.

Source: Mike Calton – Maori artist

Additional information

Weight 800 g
Dimensions 29 × 17 × 3 cm


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