Ancient Origins – Image example and Significance
The piece above establishes a prominent balance of functionality and art which remains a meaning understand, helping to create an understanding of the culture of the Maori that migrated from Polynesia. The fish are believed to represent the huge Blue fin Tuna; this artwork presents a certain respect for the animals that the Maori first saw when on the way or in New Zealand. I believe it corresponds with the word ‘Whenua’ which comes around the idea that we are nourished from the earth, and this must be respected. So although they may have tried hunting these fish in the long run, they still are able to respect the sacrifice they made in order to feed them. Athol Anderson speaks of how new islands were perceived as fish, it is possible that these fish were representative of New Zealand being each island. Te Ika-a-Maui being the North Island (the head) and Murihiki (the tail) being the South Island. (Anderson).
Anderson, Athol. “Chapter One – Ancient Origins.” Harris, Athol Anderson Judith Binney Aroha. Tangata Whenua: An Illustrated History. Auckland: Bridget Williams Books, 2014. 30-31.