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Carvings Make Journey Home

Carvings Make Journey Home

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Carvings Make Journey Home

Rotorua, New Zealand – 26 November 2007. Students and tutors of Te Wananga Whakairo o Aotearoa at the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, (Te Puia), have for the past three months been engaged in carving a series of culturally significant pieces for the Wharekawa Marae, on the Firth of Thames.

The project is the culmination of several years of tribal discussions and is described by Te Puia Te Rangatira Kaiwhakahaere mo te Tari Tikanga, Ngarepo Eparaima, as a “major cultural contribution” which has been fulfilled under the auspices of the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Act (1963) legislation. Ngarepo says that the project comprised a significant series of works for both students and the carving school at
Te Puia which this year celebrates 40 years of education and service to the Arts.

The only one of its kind in New Zealand, the carving school offers apprentices for up to 18 young Maori carvers each year. As an extension of its mandate under the Act, the carving school also advises and assists in the fulfilment of cultural carvings around New Zealand to preserve and advance traditional Maori Arts and Crafts in the 21st century.

The series of carvings comprise; 2 Maihi (Bargeboards) 9.7 metres x 0.68 metres wide and 0.25 metres high, 2 Amo (Bargeboard supports) 3.6 metres x 1.0 metre wide and 0.30 metres high, 1 x Pare (Door Lintle), 2.3 metres x 0.81 metres wide and 0.25 metres high, 5 x Poupou (Ancestral Panels) 2.0 metres x 0.45 metres wide ad 0.17 metres high and 1 x Tekoteko and Koruru (Ancestral Figure) 2.7 metres x 0.75 metres wide x 0.20 metres high. The Totara and Matai pieces were sent to Te Puia as cut timbers sourced by the people of Wharekawa Marae and returned as completed pieces on their 165km journey.

Students and tutors accompanied these taonga on their journey home where they will remain as an aid to local carvers who are completing the final carving requirements for the marae.

Te Puia will continue in an advisory role to the carvers and people of Wharekawa Marae until the completion when they will return to see Paoa the tipuna standing at the apex of the whare tipuna which will be marked by a ceremonial celebration of this project.


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