Māori Arts & Crafts Institute is Born
In 1962 the Tourist and Publicity Department decided to upgrade the complete reserve area of Te Whakarewarewa which included the major thermal valley as well as the ‘model pā’ Rotowhio. It was proposed that the Arts and Crafts Centre should be built at Rotowhio. The two concepts (MACI and Model Pā) came together, and the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute was born. In 1967, in order to make it a national centre for Māori culture, the legislation was amended and it became known as the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI).
The functions of the Institute were broad. It was to preserve what was left of the remarkable attainments of Māori, and to promote all aspects of the culture. Services of recognised experts in carving, weaving and other skills were to be utilised so that their skills and disciplines could be passed on to suitable young people selected from various Māori tribes throughout New Zealand.
In 1967 the first carving apprentices were selected from major tribes throughout the country, studying under master carver John Taiapa, Ngāti Porou (trained in the first intake of students in 1927) and assistant carver Tuti Tukaokao, Ngāi Te Rangi. The first intake included Clive Fugill (Ngāi Te Rangi) and James Rickard (Ngāti Porou, Tainui), present day Master Carvers who are still with Te Puia today.
Through the NZMACI Act Te Puia has the ability to confer diplomas or give certificates to any person having special training or qualifications in respect of Māori arts, crafts or culture. The ability to confer diplomas outside of the Government regulatory framework remains a unique attribute of Te Puia’s through to the present day. The principles and values, quality standards, and teaching methodologies established by the master carvers of the past - alongside their independent tribal styles - continues to be the operating framework for the Institute today.
Here at Te Puia we offer you the chance to take away traditional Māori carvings, beautiful handcrafted pieces made at the National Carving School. We also accept carving commissions.