The movement of Polynesian voyagers into New Zealand carried with it elements of the fundamental tribal art of the Polynesian triangle. This has since been greatly enhanced to provide a rich and varied tribal art of which several representative examples are featured below.

The practice of intermingling quaint human figures and scrolls and double spirals in Maori carving designs has a common origin in that they are derived from patronized human figures. .

The degrees of stylization of human figure in Maori carving can be seen in the progression from the naturalistic representation (above left). The figure broadens and its relief is lowered to the surface of the slab until it assumes its rectangular form. Finally, it is turned sideways in a contorted stance which suggests vigour and movement.

The Maori full face human mask (above left) is modified to a half face which is then seen at the base of the canoe bailer one half of which is the final result.

The above illustrations show how the human face evolves into the development of the double spiral.

The above illustrations show the progression of the human face as it is increasingly
elongated to fill spaces in decorative patterns.

Representative examples of stylized surface decorated
figures in steady upright stance and in active side-facing pose.

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An elongated figure combining movement and design.

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Jane Resture
(E-mail: jane@janeresture.com -- Rev. 6th October 2008)