Artwork Name: Matau a Maui
Artist Name: Joe Kemp
Location: Corner of Tūtānekai and Pukuatua Streets
Medium: Macrocarpa and rope
Selected from artist Joe Kemp’s studio, Matau a Maui was chosen to form part of Rotorua’s public art collection.
The work relates to the Māori legend of Maui fishing up Te Ika-a-Maui, the North Island of Aotearoa, using a fish hook made from the jawbone of his grandmother, Muriranga-whenua.
The sculpture depicts both the fish hook and a feminine form, to represent Muriranga-whenua.
Made originally for Sculpture on the Shore (Takapuna), this work was selected by Rotorua Lakes Council from artist Joe Kemp’s studio at Lake Rotoma to form a part of Rotorua’s public art collection.
Inspired by the traditional Māori story of Maui fishing up Te Ika-a-Maui, Kemp made the work to celebrate the birth and beginnings of Aotearoa.
Credit: Joe Kemp, Matau a Maui, 2010. On loan from the artist.
About the artist: Joe Kemp (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa) always had an affinity for art, but came to carving later in life and is now a self-taught contemporary sculptor and carver living by Lake Rotoma.
His preferred material is wood, as he enjoys the surprises natural timber can bring with it, and feels a connection with Tāne Mahuta (the life force of the tree in Te Ao Māori) when carving. With his work, Kemp looks to bring out the wairua (essence) in each piece, using and highlighting any special features and grains in the wood or stone.