Sandy Rodgers Artworks | Portfolio Categories Post Gods, Post Myth, Post Man
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Tane and the Tui


  • The Tui: Prosthermadera novaeseelandiae Other names: Parson bird, poe bee-eater, New Zealand creeper, koko, mocking bird
  • Heru: Ornamental Maori hair comb (‘The Tui was worn in Rehua’s hair’)
    Note: Heru is another name for Horus the Egyptian bird god whose symbol is represented on the bottom left corner of the painting
  • Kowhaiwhai (Maori rafter panel design): Kōwhai ngutukākā



‘Tane Mahuta, The god of nature was the creator of the forests, the birds therein were the offspring of Tanemataahi & Parauri. It was when Tane visited Rehua in the overworlds that he saw the Tui in Rehua’s hair and wished to take it back to earth with him’ … Rehua told Tane that he must provide food and shelter for the birds and then he could return and take the Tui. Tane created the lush forests of Aotearoa in order to be able to care for the beautiful creatures.

Tangi te Keo

Huia: Te Keo is the name of the bird spirit of Whataitai, the taniwha.


Map: Based on ‘The Pioneers of Port Nicholson’ by David McGill

Ngake & Whataitai:

The harbour of Te Whanganui-a-Tara was created by two taniwha, Whataitai and Ngake. Whataitai lived in the north of the lake and Ngake lived south.

Ngake could hear waters of Raukawa Moana pounding, decided to escape the lake to get to it. He went to the north of the lake to build up his speed for the attempt, and headed off rapidly towards the south.

Ngake crashed into the rocks at Seatoun and headed out into the Strait. Whataitai saw this and tried to follow Ngake. Whataitai was stranded. He stayed there for many generations before being lifted high onto the land by an earthquake.

The soul of Whataitai left him in the form of a bird, Te Keo. It flew above the harbour and wept for the taniwha, whose body was lifted high the hills close to the harbour entrance.

Mount Victoria is known as Tangi Te Keo, “The weeping of Te Keo”, and the suburb on the hills below is named Hataitai.

Cook 3D

‘Cook 3d’

Map:   Based on the map from Sydney Parkinson’s diary.

Cook Discovers New Zealand

On 8th October the Endeavour sailed into a bay, and laid anchor at the entrance of a small river in Tuuranga-nui (today’s Poverty Bay).

James Cook was born: October 27th 1728

Cook was born in the village ‘Marton, Yorkshire’, son of a poor Scotch farm laborer from Roxburgshire.

When Cook was 27 war broke out between France and England. Cook decided it would be better to volunteer than pressed into service.  In 1768 the King of England decided to send a ship into the South Seas. Cook was promoted to Lieutenant and appointed to the command of the expedition.


Captain James Cook died: February 14th 1779

On February 4th, the ‘Resolution’ was caught in a violent storm and was badly damaged.  Cook tried to stop the soldiers from firing their weapons but amid the noise and confusion they fired anyway. Cook was then attacked by many of the natives at once and was killed. And so ended the life of one of the greatest explorers of all time.

Tasman 2D

Map: Based on a map by the Portuguese from a larger world map.  The information on it suggests they had compiled both the French Explorers Jean Francois Marie de Surville’s information with that of Cooks.

I chose this map because Tasman’s map was only a small line marking a part of the central east coast of New Zealand.


Europeans Discover New Zealand

The name of this continent was terra Australis incognita.  Abel Janszoon Tasman was sent by the governor general of Batvia to find this Southern Continent and establish trade.  Parts of the Australian coast had already been mapped but nothing was known of what lay further east.  Tasman sailed from Batvia via Mauritius in 1642.  He landed briefly on Tasmania and days later he sighted the west coast of the South Island.  The first encounter with the natives however was grizzly.  Tasman sailed off to find a more hospitable area.  That Bay was then named Murderers Bay, later Golden Bay.  Tasman named this new land Straten Landt however after a few years it became known as Novo Zeelandia.  From this point onward New Zealand can be found in many of the older maps.

Kupe 1D

Map:   Based on the iwi (tribe)  map from “Atlas of New Zealand Boundaries” by Jan Kelly and Brian Marshall, 1996, Auckland University Press.


The Story of Kupe:

Although Maui fished up the North and South Islands, it was the great Polynesian navigator Kupe who discovered them. Kupe lived in Hawaiiki, mythical ancestral homeland of the Maori. In Hawaiiki lived a canoe maker by the name of Toto.

Toto fabricated two huge ocean going canoes from a large tree. Toto gave canoes to his dauthers Rongorongo and Kura. Kupe desired Kura who was his cousin Hoturapa’s wife.

Kupe tricked Hoturapa into diving while fishing and let him drown as a plan to take Kura. His family was suspicious of the circumstances surrounding the death. Kupe and his own family left Hawaiiki in Kura’s canoe Matahorua. During their subsequent journeys, they overcame numerous monsters and sea demons, including the great octopus named as Te Wheke-a-Muturangi, and discovered New Zealand.

He gave instructions on how to return to this new land, but said that he himself would not be returning.

The Flying Taniwha


  • Richard Pearse’s flying machine.
  • The Birdman: based on early Maori rock drawings in the South Island.


Stamp Design:

Based on the U.S. ‘Jenny’ stamp, created in 1918. The Jenny (name of the plane) stamps were the first airmail stamps created.



Tamaahua saw a large creature standing in shallow water along the beach. As he was to plunge his weapon into it, it awoke and seized him. He was then flown to Hawaiki where many Taniwha decided his fate. They concluded that Te Manunui a Ruakapanga was at fault as he was a Taniwha of the air and had no right to be lying in the water. Fortunate Tamaahua was flown home on a different Taniwha of which he managed to pluck a few wing feathers from, that were called Rauamoa which gave him his unique powers.



Richard Pearse from Waitohi, near Timaru achieved the first powered flight on 31st March 1902, over a year before the Wright Brothers! Pearse had managed to fly about a kilometer. His success was never acknowledged fully was because he didn’t really think it was such a big deal.

Rona and the Moon


Rona: Inspired by the ‘1935 3d Wahine stamp’ and early 90s’ tourism posters and postcards.

Ngaio flower: (Myoporum laetum) scattered around the boarder are blossoms from the tree that Rona clutched onto.

Alexander Turnbull Images: Images of meal preparation by Maori & early nz landscapes showing the moon

Temple of Artemis: Greek goddess identified with the moon and fertility.

‘Kia mahara ki te he o Rona’ An old proverb ‘Remember the wrongful act of Rona’ meaning, be careful of what you say and do as it may come back on you.


The general design of this stamp was based on a Tango poster I collected whilst in Argentina.



Rona had forgotten water to cook the meal she was prepearing for her husband and sons upon their arrival from fishing. She ran towards the spring at night and fell. Rona cursed frustrated at the moon. The Moon heard and as a punishment, she seized Rona, who desperately she clutched a ngaio tree as she was pulled towards the moon. When the moon is full, Rona, her gourds and the Ngaio tree can be seen.

Maui’s Aotearoa


  • Hook: Traditional fishing hook
  • Jaw bone: Maui’s grandmothers magic jawbone
  • Waka: Fishing canoe
  • Kowhaiwhai (Maori rafter panel design): Patiki/flounder – which represents hospitality. (The fish Maui is said to have caught was either a flounder or a stingray).


Stamp design:

Based on the 1920 1d Map Stamp Cowan Paper unh mint



Maui’s brothers were to set off on a fishing expedition in the morning but refused to take Maui. He turned himself into a small animal and hid beneath the floorboards. He drew out his hook which he had fashioned from his grand mothers jawbone. For bait he used his own blood and he chanted a karakia as he lowered the hook. It sank quickly and fastened itself to Tonganui, grandson of Tangaroa, God of the ocean. Maui hauled up his catch which became known as ‘Te Ika a Maui’


Place Names:

The North Island being the fish of Maui, where place names refer to fish. The South Island was his canoe and has the stern, prow and seat marked.

The Flying Moa


Pourangahua was a man of great mana who travelled great distances across the sea to fetch food for his infant son. Pourangahua landed at Parinuiterā and found there the delectable kūmara. After collecting two baskets of kūmara he was anxious to return home but his canoe was gone so Pourangahua sought out a chief named Tāne who led him to ‘Te Manunui a Ruakapanga’ (The Great Bird of Ruakapanga). “Here is your canoe of the skies. Be gentle with your ancestor who bears you so bravely”, he said. He was warned not to let the bird land when he had arrived home but to jump off. When the time came Pourangahua refused to let the bird go; he plucked one of its feathers and threw it into the sea, which grew into the first kahikatea tree in Aotearoa.

When Tāne’s mount never returned he assumed it dead and so sent Taukata, a priest of great power to find and destroy he who had killed Te Manunui.


Kowhaiwhai (Maori rafter panel design): Kūmara hou – New Kumara

Aorakis Waka


  1. Ranunculus lyallii, the Mount Cook Lily The flower is actually a giant mountain buttercup.
  2. Aoraki (Mt Cook)
  3. Kowhaiwhai (Maori rafter panel design): My design ‘Maunga waka’ representing the mountain and the waka tipping over.


Stamp design:

Based on the 1935 2 1/2d Pictorials



When Raki and Papatuanuku were married, Raki’s children Aoraki, Rakiora, Rakirua and Rarakiroa came down to meet their new mother. The brothers travelled on a canoe named ‘Te Waka o Aoraki’ (The canoe of Aoraki). Upon arrival they explored for a while and got to know Papatuanuku. Eventually however it was time to return home so the brothers said a karakia and their canoe began to ascend towards the heavens but the incantations failed and the canoe fell back into the sea and rolled onto its side turning to stone. Aoraki and his brothers climbed onto the highest point but sadly they turned into stone. Aoraki and his brothers are now known as Mt. Cook and the Southern Alps.

Note: Raki is South Island dialect for Rangi, the sky father.

Battle of the Birds


  • Kawau: Black Shag
  • Karuhiruhi: Pied Shag
  • Tiwakawaka: Fantail
  • Kowhaiwhai (Maori rafter panel design): A combination of rautawa (tawa Leaf) and ngutu kaka (kakabeak)

Stamp design:

Based on the 1935 Pictorials 1d Kiwi


Kauwau from the coast invited kauwau from the rivers to his home for a meal one day. The river shag was unimpressed by the spiny food and suggested that the coastal shag should come with him and try the river fare. The coastal shag enjoyed the delicious meal so much that he asked if the river shag would give him part of his territory to live in. The river shag threw him out and the coastal shag promised he would return with a war party. The battle was grim, many birds lost their lives and plummeted to the ground below but as sunset approached. Since the war the birds have lived apart and respect each others territory when they have need of passing through and thus have since lived in peace.