Brett Graham’s work references his Maori and European heritage. The works may not directly invoke Maori sculptural tradition, nonetheless they speak to that tradition in their titles and concept.Kaiwhakatere was commissioned by the Trust in honour of Henry Lang, a co-founder of the Trust. The navigator is an appropriate theme as he demonstrated great leadership throughout his life.
The sculptures are based on the tools of navigation. Throughout Polynesia, the navigator is exalted as pathfinder, innovator and visionary – qualities necessary for discerning leadership.
The three shapes represent a manu (bird’s head), a waka (canoe) and a tuahu (an alter of stones). The bird guides the navigator, the waka symbolises a hopeful new beginning, and the tuahu, built on arrival in a new land, suggests promises and challenges.