Inspiring future kaiwhakairo

One of our two expert carvers, Arama, shares the carving process with students from Tokotoko Alternative Education (Whangarei) who recently spent time with our education team


Students on our Education Experience sometimes visit our Carving Studio to learn about the art and tradition of whakairo (carving). Our kaiwhakairo are always happy to share their knowledge and artworks, answer questions and perhaps inspire future budding kaiwhakairo!  Carving is a celebrated expression of both storytelling and art in Māori culture and can be appreciated in many forms throughout the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.

It’s interesting hearing about the impacts that changing technology has had over time on whakairo practices, and the production of whakairo. Our carvers use a blend of modern and traditional materials and methods in their production; for example they may use digital platforms to create designs.

Carvings are a rich part of Waitangi’s story.  Students love exploring Te Whare Rūnanga, our beautifully carved meeting house reflecting the styles of many iwi (tribes), and the magnificent carved war canoe Ngātokimatawhaorua surrounded by carved poupou (carved panels) representing different iwi.

Learn more about the significance of whakairo with students with our  teaching resource – an inquiry unit exploring Identity.


Two striking whakairo created by our carvers welcome visitors into the Carving Studio

3/9/2020 Imogen Rider