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.

As of now applications are open to wahine commencing study in 2025

Course Information

NZMACI is mandated to train Māori from iwi (tribes) across New Zealand. Applicants for this school must be male or female, over 18 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

Ko Matawhaura te maunga
Ko Te Rotoiti-i-kite-ai-e-Ihenga te moana
Ko Te Ohautanga a Pōtakatawhiti te awa
Ko Hohowai te marae
Ko Te Takinga te whare tupuna
Ko Hohowai te waka taua
Ko Te Arawa te iwi
Ko Te Arawa te waka kawe moana
Ko Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi Ngāti Wāhiao, Ngāti Tarawhai Ngā hapū.


Why I came to Te Takapū o Rotowhio?

From my Schooling at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Koutu, I always wanted to do something with Māori art. My Kuia Hariata ( Binny) Kereopa was a weaver and my great Koro Tene Waitere was a Master carver, so Māori art runs through my whakapapa. After school, life had other plans for me. It wasn’t until I came home from Australia, 6 years ago, I felt a yearning for art.. it was a calling. So, I started my journey from drawing to Tāmoko and from Tāmoko to now carving at Te Takapū o Rotowhio carving Bone and Pounamu school.


What have I learnt?

I came in to this kura narrow minded, thinking I was only learning how to carve but I’ve learnt a lot more in the two short years I’ve spent studying at Te Takapū o Rotowhio. Not only carving but also all the whakapapa (genealogy), kimi korero (finding connective words and rangahau (research), all the things that come before even learning how to used the tools to carve. This changed my thoughts of how Whare Wānanga (house of learning) should be.


What advice do I have for people who are considering bone/Pounamu as a career?

You must have an open mind and heart but also have a passion for Māori art.You also have to be a sponge, ready to soak in all the knowledge that the Wānanga has to share.


Ko Te Arawa te waka
Ko Matawhaura te maunga
Ko Te Rotoiti-i-kite-ai-e-Īhenga te moana
Ko Ngāti Pikiao te iwiKo Ngāti Hinekura te hapū
Ko Hinekura te whare tupuna
Ko Niniurangi te wharekai
Ko Te Waiiti te awa
Ko Tawhakarere te whenua taurikura
Ko Te-Ahi-a-Tōrere te waka taua
Upoko māhewahewa.


Ko Te Oneroa kei te Ruatokia te ūkaipō
Ko Ngāti Rongomai te iwi
Ko Te Hiukura te marae
Ko Ngā-pūmanawa-e-waru-o-Te-Arawa te whare wānanga
Ko Te-awa-i-takapuwhaia te wharekai
Ko Torehitaua te waka taua
Ko au ko te whare o te riri
Ko ahau tēnei ko Kihoro Hohepa.



Why I came to Te Takapū/Te take i ruku ai?


He kōingo nōku kia ruku ai ki roto ki wēnei wānanga, ki roto i wēnei mahi whakairo. I tupu ake au i roto i te āo whakairo o Ngāti Tarawhai, o Ngāti Pikiao, Ki tāku e mōhio, Ko te nuinga o ngā whare tūpuna, whare wānanga i tupu ake ai e au i whakairohia e Kaka Niao, ko Te Amo rātou ko Wero. He tāonga tuku iho.

It is a deep desire of mine to delve in and understand the importance of our customs and protocols based around whakairo Māori. Raised in the environment of Ngāti Tarawhai and Ngāti Pikiao whakairo, I was fortunate to learn things pertaining to these carved meeting houses. Kaka Niao, Te Amo-a-Tai and Wero Tāroi are the tohunga whakairo, who inspired me to do what I do today. It is a treasure for them to be acknowledged and preserved.


What have I learnt/Ngā akoranga?


Ko āku pūkenga whakairo he whāngai nā Te Tumu whakarae o Te Takapū o Rotowhio, ko wai ake, ko Stacy Gordine. He tangata rongonui ki au, he nui taku whakaute ki ā ia. Nōku te whiwhi ki te ako, nōku hoki te maringa nui ki te noho ki raro i ngā akoranga a Matua Stacy, otirā, Te Takapū o Rotowhio.

The mindset and skills I have for whakairo today are an acknowledgement to Stacy Gordine. He has an important role in our wānanga pounamu and is someone I highly respect. I am thankful to learn, but I am more grateful to learn in this space, under the guidance of Matua Stacy here at Te Takapū o Rotowhio.


Advice/Kōrero akiaki?


Whāngaihia wōu kete kia kawea ki tua!

Learn as much as you can and share it!



Photo: Tipene Oneroa

Stacy Gordine Te Takapū

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.

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

Application for NZMACI

Applicants must be of Māori descent, Male or Female 18 years or over. Be able to demonstrate a competency in Māori art and/or design, 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 NOW OPEN FOR NEXT INTAKE 2025 . Please email [email protected] for more information.


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