Te Waka o Aoraki


Choose print size

Explore the story of the artwork >>

Print sizes and editions

  • Regular museum archival paper print - 550 x 367mm
    (limited to 275)
  • Large museum archival paper print - 1110 x 740mm 
    (limited to 195)
  • Extra Large museum canvas print - 1350 x 900mm
    (limited to 175)

Your unique limited edition fine art print

  1. Sofia Minson creates your exclusive signed print
  2. We ship for $25 in NZ and from $50 internationally
  3. Your artwork arrives rolled, ready to be framed - do you need help? Request framing guidance

Original painting SOLD, 1200 x 1800mm, oil on canvas, 2007

The story of Te Waka o Aoraki

The painting "Te Waka o Aoraki" was inspired by Sofia's respect for the land and mythology of Aotearoa (New Zealand). The landscape depicts Lake Pukaki and Aoraki (Mt Cook), which is Ngai Tahu's sacred tribal mountain and the highest peak in New Zealand. Ngai Tahu is a prominent South Island iwi (tribe) who trace their lineage back to Tahu Pōtiki, the younger brother of Porourangi who was one of the great ancestors of Ngāti Porou - Sofia's own iwi.

The legend of Aoraki tells of four brothers who made a grave mistake, which created the spectacular mountain range known today as Te Tiritiri o Te Moana (The Southern Alps). The story begins when Raki (the Sky Father) wedded Papatūānuku (the Earth Mother). 

After the marriage, the children of Raki came down from the celestial sphere to greet their father's new wife. Among them were Raki's four sons named Aoraki (Cloud in the Sky), Rakiora (Long Raki), Rakirua (Raki the Second), and Rarakiroa (Long Unbroken Line). 

They descended to earth in a canoe called Te Waka o Aoraki and spent time with Papatūānuku, who lay as one body in a vast continent known as Hawaiiki. After exploring the surrounding ocean, the brothers decided to return to their home. However the karakia (incantation), which should have lifted the waka back to the heavens failed and the canoe fell back into the sea and leaned over onto its side, turning to stone and earth in the process. 

Thus the earthen waka became the South Island of New Zealand, hence the name of the painting and the oldest name of the South Island being "Te Waka o Aoraki". Aoraki and his brothers clambered on to the high side and were also turned to stone, remaining there until this day as the mountains of the Southern Alps.

This vivid, eerie environment is Sofia's interpretation of an iconic New Zeland landscape, enriched by stories of ancient peoples, gods and natural history. Aoraki stands firmly as a quiet giant that has endured patiently over generations of human migration, natural evolution, creation and extinction. The ancient mountain bore witness to the rise and fall of New Zealand's majestic Pouakai Eagle - a native bird known to prey on Moa with a wingspan of up to three meters, which became extinct A.D.1400. These immense, graceful creatures are pictured soaring over Aoraki as the guardians of the history and wairua (spirit) of the land.

Select your print >>

Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork

SKU: 10191 TAGS: Regular archival paper, Large archival paper, Extra large canvas

This product has been added to your cart