About Te Takapū o Rotowhio

At Te Takapū, students learn the revered tradition of carving pounamu (Nephrite-Jade/Greenstone), bone and stone.

The school opened on 5 October 2009, expanding on NZMACI’s commitment to maintaining, developing and promoting the arts, crafts and culture of iwi Māori (Māori tribes) as mandated by the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute Act (1963) (History).

The school was first led by Lewis Gardiner who is a well-regarded pounamu artist of his generation.

Stacy Gordine, a renowned artist from the East Coast of New Zealand – and uri of Hone Te Kauru and Pine Taiapa – now leads the programme and is shaping the direction of the wānanga into the future.

Course Information

NZMACI is mandated to train Māori from iwi (tribes) across New Zealand. Applicants for this school must be male, over 17 years of age and of Māori descent.

A limited number of tauira (students) are selected each year. Successful students will receive an NZMACI Scholarship to cover living expenses. There are no course fees for this qualification.

This tohu (qualification) is for two years and is approximately 40 hours per week, 47 weeks of the year.

Through the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute Act (1963) (History) the Institute has the ability to award tohu to any person having special training in Māori arts, crafts or culture. The ability to independently recognise and confer qualifications remains a unique attribute of this organisation to this day.

Study Programme

During their study, the school’s carvers have the opportunity to be involved in a range of kaupapa (initiatives) on-site, throughout New Zealand and possibly overseas. The outcome is two-pronged – it fulfils NZMACI’s cultural perpetuation, protection and promotion mandate and exposes students to environments which help them see first-hand how knowledge, history, and ideas are manifested through material culture.

Students specifically work on projects to prepare them for establishing careers as artists once they leave the school.

Students are taught:

  • Safe practice in the workshop environment
  • How to plan, prepare and present their artworks
  • How to conceptualise ideas through drawing
  • A range of traditional and contemporary carving and sculpting techniques, using a variety of tools and practical methods of design emphasising three dimensional form, functional artefacts and symbolism
  • Material knowledge and research of traditional korero (stories), technology and materials, emphasising the preservation of Māori culture and history
  • Matauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) in the production of artefacts
  • Self-management and planning in preparation for small business planning
  • How to apply industry strategies, business practice and innovation in the development of a personal small business plan

Meet The Tutors

Rick Peters is a graduate student of Te Takapū o Rotowhio – Stone and Bone Carving School who is passionate about studying the old forms, weapons and patterns of whakairo. With the use of modern tools, he loves to try and push technical boundaries in creating tribal style pendants.

He likes to design innovative contemporary concepts whilst remaining in synch with traditional whakairo. Rick Peters wishes to continue stone and bone carving to achieve quality works at the highest possible standards.

Stacy works with multimedia, bone, pounamu (greenstone), stone, wood, silver and more. He became lead tutor of Te Takapū in September 2014. He holds a Diploma in Māori Visual Art and Design and has works held in Te Papa, Pātaka Museum and the Dowse Museum Collections, as well as private collections worldwide.

Stacy’s background involves artist teaching and exchange residencies in Alaska and Hawai’i. His influences are Pacific Rim indigenous artisans past and present, as well as Great Grand Uncles Pine and Hone Te Kauru Taiapa.

Wi-Kuki Hewett has studied the craft of bone and stone carving under the guidance of Master Practitioner, Stacy Gordine in the Te Takapū o Rotowhio School.

He has a passion for carving derived from a Rongowhakaata master carver of his time, Raharuhi Rukupō most famous for his carved house, Te Hau-ki-Tūranga. Within two years of studying at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, Wi-Kuki’s passion for whakairo has grown immensely and he hopes to continue to learn and further his knowledge and skill in this craft.

I'm considering study at The National Stone and Bone Carving School

Application for NZMACI

We are now seeking applications for Te Takapū o Rotowhio (National Bone & Stone School). Applicants must be of Māori descent, Male 18 years old or over and be able to demonstrate a competency in Māori art and/or design and have an ability and willingness to interpret and understand the theory component of this qualification. To maintain the standard and quality of our graduates, places are strictly limited. Applications for these positions close at 5PM, 15 July, 2022. Please email gracehiini@gmail.com for more information.


Application forms are available from the NZMACI office at Te Puia or you can download the form here.