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Renowned Te Matatoki Carvers Accept 2022/23 Artists In Residence At The Māoriland Hub

Māoriland has successfully received Creative NZ arts funding for its second Artists in Residence programme.

In 2021 the first artists in residence were nationally recognised weavers Sonia Snowden and Pip Devonshire.

Māoriland Charitable Trust applied for the Toi Ake fund at CNZ to invite Te Matatoki to take up its 2022/23 Residency.

Te Matatoki includes highly respected Ngai Tahu carver Fayne Robinson who carves pounamu, wood, glass and every other medium that he can take a chisel to.

Fayne’s work includes intricate hei tiki to large scale pou for wharenui. He has been involved in many public installations across the country, as has Lewis Gardner of Ngāti Pikiao.

Lewis is also a master carver in pounamu, with his work found in art galleries worldwide. Ian-Wayne Grant of Ngāti Kahungungu, Te Rarawa is also recognised as an expert of Māori carving with his work sought after by collectors.

Te Matatoki trained in traditional Māori carving at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI). They credit their teachers with instilling in them a knowledge of form that allows them today to work in any medium. However, their first love is carving wood.

“The awarding of this grant will enable Te Matatoki to create four large pou or carved posts to adorn the front of the Māoriland Hub” said Pat Hakaraia, one of the founders of Māoriland.

A carver himself, Pat supports Te Matatoki during their stay at the Māoriland Film Festival each year since 2018.

“When they first arrived in 2018 I was instantly impressed by the caliber of their work and their humility. They talk to anyone who comes to watch their work. They are masters of the chisels and prefer to let their work speak for them. To date, they have carved three beautiful works that take pride of place in the Māoriland Hub,” says Pat.

Pat also helped source the logs that Te Matatoki will be carving the pou from at Māoriland, given a tip-off by one of the workers clearing the build-up of gravel from the Ōtaki river after a single thin branch kept waving at workers at the Ōtaki River Depot of the Greater Wellington Regional Council. (GWRC)

“The GWRC had access to a powerful bulldozer and a large crane. With much care, they were able to reach beneath the river bed and haul out what was discovered to be a massive tōtara estimated at over 200 years of age,” says Patrick.

Te Matatoki carvers describe the wood as being of exceptional quality for the carving project, which will take ten months to complete for the 10th Māoriland Film Festival in March 2023.

“Our vision for the entire front of the Māoriland Hub is for a living green wall to propagate native trees and also those used in Māori rongoā - healing. We’ll be announcing our fundraising efforts for this living green wall shortly,” says Libby Hakaraia, managing director of Māoriland.

“Te Matatoki has seen these plans and also Ngā Pou o te Whare - the values (posts) of the Māoriland Hub. They will start carving at the upcoming Māoriland Film Festival (29th June- 3rd July 2022) with visitors being able to see these pou take shape.”

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