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Carver’s direct descendent to restore Rotorua carvings

News Release
Wednesday 30 September 2015


Tene Waitene descendant Rob Rika explains the restoration process at yesterday’s blessing.


Carver’s direct descendent to restore Rotorua carvings

The restoration of Rotorua’s historic Tene Waitere carvings in Government Gardens is underway marked by a blessing ceremony held at the Prince’s Gate archway this week (Tuesday 29 September).

The carvings were originally created as part of a palisaded fenceline surrounding a model Maori village created for an expo in 1904 at Hagley Park in Christchurch.

A few years later, in 1907, they were shipped back to Rotorua, with some installed at NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute and others at Government Gardens.

Rob Rika, a direct descendant of notable master carver Tene Waitere, will undertake the restoration work.

Mr Rika, who is also a carver, said his kuia (grandmother) gifted him Tene Waitere’s prized chisels. He said it was a pleasure to work on projects that had a lot of family history.

“I find myself looking at the carvings and wanting to learn some of the techniques that he may have used back in the day.

“Because I look so closely at it I can tell how sharp his chisels were – little things like that. And then I can see what kind of chisels he may have had that I don’t have. Every now and again I think ‘I don’t have that chisel,’ so I go back to his lot and find it. Slowly I’ve been adding his chisels to my collection.”

Mr Rika expects to start work on restoring the carvings at the end of the week and anticipates the project will take two to three months to complete.

[ENDS]

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