A wheku is an abstract representation of a face, most recognisable by its slanted eyes. It is commonly used to represent a tupuna (ancestor) or kaitiaki (guardian), and alludes more to the wairua (spiritual), than to the physical. If you (or the receiver of this as a gift) are in need of spiritual support, this work can act as a reminder of those things which give us strength and courage.
Pākati and haehae are contemporary surface patterns more commonly found in Post-European carvings than their Pre-European predecessors. They are used to decorate and to represent lines of whakapapa (genealogy) and to accentuate the features they adorn. Pākati are the notches, and haehae are the straight or curved lines. They are among the most recognisable whakairo (traditional Māori carving) surface patterns.
The style of this work draws on traditional elements of carving from the Te Arawa (Bay of Plenty) and East Coast regions of the North Island. These elements are exemplified in the shape of the head, and the positioning and shape of the facial features (eyes, nose, mouth). The design of this piece is achieved through the use of chisel and mallet only, not with power tools or sandpaper.