For approximately 50 years, students from tribes across New Zealand have assembled at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute – located at Te Puia – to learn time-honoured traditions in danger of being lost forever.
By the 1920s our culture and traditions were in serious danger of being lost forever. Believing the material culture – and in particular wood carving – held the key to cultural preservation, Māori visionary, Sir Apirana Ngata, established the first Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in 1926 – laying the foundations for the national institute at Te Puia today.
This is your window into the fascinating world of Māori carving. Visit the school where this prestigious artform is handed down from master carvers to young trainees and watch as they practice the great art in front of your eyes.
In the 50 years following the Act of 1963, the Institute has orchestrated a number of significant projects aiming to maintain, foster, educate and perpetuate all forms of Māori arts and crafts. Projects include the restoration and creation of over 40 marae and meeting houses throughout New Zealand as well as gifts made for international events on behalf of our nation.
In this school students learn the revered carving tradition of pounamu (New Zealand greenstone), bone and stone. The school opened on 5 October 2009, expanding on the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute’s commitment to maintaining, developing and promoting the arts, crafts and culture of our people as part of the 1963 Act. Students in this school are also taught other technical processes including casting, both in resins and metals.
At the national weaving school students train in the ancient art of traditional weaving. We invite you to watch the weavers at work and interact with them as they create garments of great beauty.
James Eruera heads our newest wānanga, Te Wānanga-a-Kupe Mai Tawhiti (Waka Building School) in Te Aurere in Doubtless Bay, Northland. This new school will play a vital role in preserving our waka building traditions and our cultural identity as people of the Pacific.
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