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26-Tonne Maori Carving on the Move in Rotorua

Media release from Te Matatini Society Inc

26-Tonne Maori Carving on the Move in Rotorua

Possibly the largest Maori carving created in Aotearoa has been completed and will be moved to its first public appearance at Rotorua International Stadium on Thursday 7 February, says Te Matatini Society and the New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute.

For the past few months, carvers at the NZMACI have been working on a mahau or porch front which is to be unveiled at the Te Matatini biennial National Kapa Haka competition, at the Rotorua International Stadium from 20 – 24 February 2013. With a 30m span, standing over 13m tall and weighing approximately 26 tonnes, the mahau will frame the Te Matatini stage as 41 of the country’s best kapa haka teams compete for the national title.

The Director of the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, Karl Johnstone, said large trucks would transport the mahau to the stadium, where engineers will erect the structure in time for the kapa haka festival to begin. The mahau will be accompanied by a contingent of Maori warriors when it leaves Te Puia in Hemo Road at around 10am on Thursday.

Te Matatini Society Executive Director Darrin Apanui said that members of the public and the media were welcome to support the carving on its journey to the festival. “Our aim has been to create a structure that will frame the performing arts during Te Matatini 2013, but which also has value in the future as a ‘cultural doorway’ through which all things Kiwi can be showcased.”

Te Matatini Society and NZMACI are discussing the use of the mahau with a number of New Zealand organisations which are interested in using it for their events, which also attract global audiences.

Te Matatini promotes Maori performing arts through valuable assistance from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Te Puni Kokiri. For the upcoming festival, strategic partners include the University of Waikato, New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, New Zealand Post and Kiwibank, and Te Wananga o Aotearoa.


For more information on the mahau, please go to:

Tickets for Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Championships can be bought from Ticketmaster:


Te Matatini Society Incorporated

Te Matatini Society is the national organisation for Kapa Haka and Maori performing arts in Aotearoa and has responsibility for fostering, developing and protecting traditional Maori performing arts through providing funding and support each year for the local, provincial and national development of Kapa Haka.

Every two years, Te Matatini hosts a national Kapa Haka Festival where teams from around New Zealand compete to take the title of the best of the best. This event attracts thousands of spectators from around New Zealand and the world, and is a significant event in New Zealand’s cultural calendar.

New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute

Initially established to protect and perpetuate Maori arts and crafts, NZMACI has two foci: Te Puia, New Zealand’s largest cultural tourism entity; and the self-titled New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, which is responsible for delivering on the fuller obligations of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Act (1963).

As part of its responsibilities, NZMACI funds and operates the national wood carving, pounamu carving and weaving schools from Rotorua In addition, it will be opening a fourth wananga (school) focussed on waka construction in Doubtless Bay early in 2013. Alongside its wānanga NZMACI leads or partners a raft of cultural initiatives both in New Zealand and internationally. Most recently this included Waka Tapu – voyage to Rapanui in partnership with Te Taitokerau Tārai Waka, and the launching of its own Maori food brand – The Storehouse.

NZMACI has been a partner of Te Matatini for six years, contributing funding towards its biennial kapa haka festival.


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