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Piopiotahi

Original painting Sold, oil on canvas, 1300 x 850mm, 2007

Limited edition print available - scroll down and click 'add to cart'

“Piopiotahi” was inspired by Sofia’s love for the land, myths and history of Aotearoa (New Zealand). In Maori legend, the South Island fiords were created not by rivers of ice, but by Tu Te Raki Whanoa, a godly figure who came wielding a magical adze and uttering incantations. Milford Sound, known in Maori as Piopiotahi, is without a doubt his finest sculpture.

The name “Piopiotahi” comes from a myth about Maui-tikitiki-a-Taranga, the great Polynesian demi-god. It begins with the final and most daring venture of Maui - an attempt to win immortality for mankind. Had courageous Maui not tamed the sun? Had he not fished up the North Island of Aotearoa? Could he not also overcome the night of death?

The now extinct Piopio (New Zealand thrush), which is the bird pictured in this painting, is said to have accompanied Maui from Hawaiki. To accomplish his aim of eternal life, Maui was to enter the womb of Hinenui-te-Po (the goddess of death), travel through her body and emerge from her mouth. If he succeeded, death would never have dominion over humans. Maui set out to the place where the goddess lay. Finding her slumbering, Maui demanded silence from the Piopio and the other birds of the forest that were present to witness his remarkable endeavour. But when Maui’s head entered Hinenui-te-Po’s gigantic opening, the sight was so absurd that the Piwakawaka (fantail) burst into a shrill twitter of laughter that awakened the goddess of death. She brought her huge thighs together in a thunderous crash. Maui died without gaining the treasure of immortality for mankind. The sorrowful Piopio who saw the tragedy, fled south to Milford Sound to mourn for the death of its mate. The Maori name for Milford Sound is therefore “Piopiotahi”, which means "the single thrush".

Limited Edition Print

Limited edition of 75 signed prints available on matte paper of museum archival quality called hahnemuhle photo rag 308gsm. Image size is 550mm high x 360mm wide surrounded by an unprinted white border.  Shipping is FREE within NZ and $35 everywhere else (prices are NZD).  Unframed print arrives sealed in protective tube or sleeve.

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Sofia Minson Oil Paintings | New Zealand Artwork