The story of He Kotuku Rerenga Tahi
"He Kotuku Rerenga Tahi" was inspired by the legend of Kupe, the great Polynesian navigator and expresses universal themes of journeys, dynamic life and peace.
Kupe is said to have journeyed from Hawaiki, the ancestral homeland of Māori, overcoming many severe obstacles at sea, to become the first person to discover Aotearoa. "He kotuku rerenga tahi" is a whakatauki or proverb, which means "a white heron's flight is seen but once". It is used to indicate a very special and rare event and in this case refers to the arrival of Kupe and his waka Matawhaorua.
An ancient waka
The intricately carved tauihu (bow piece) in this work is Sofia's personal interpretation of Kupe's great ocean going vessel. The ancient waka rests upon the shores of Aotearoa after its immense journey. As if they have come to greet the unusual craft from a far away place, a graceful kotuku perches on the waka and two more can be seen flying in the distance.