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26-Tonne Māori carving on the move in Rotorua

Possibly the largest Māori carving created in Aotearoa has been completed and will be moved to its first public appearance at Rotorua International Stadium on Thursday 7 February, says Te Matatini Society and the New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute.

For the past few months, carvers at the NZMACI have been working on a mahau or porch front which is to be unveiled at the Te Matatini biennial National Kapa Haka competition, at the Rotorua International Stadium from 20 – 24 February 2013. With a 30m span, standing over 13m tall and weighing approximately 26 tonnes, the mahau will frame the Te Matatini stage as 41 of the country’s best kapa haka teams compete for the national title.

The Director of the New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute, Karl Johnstone, said large trucks would transport the mahau to the stadium, where engineers will erect the structure in time for the kapa haka festival to begin.  The mahau will be accompanied by a contingent of Māori warriors when it leaves Te Puia in Hemo Road at around 10am on Thursday.

Te Matatini Society Executive Director Darrin Apanui said that members of the public and the media were welcome to support the carving on its journey to the festival.  “Our aim has been to create a structure that will frame the performing arts during Te Matatini 2013, but which also has value in the future as a ‘cultural doorway’ through which all things Kiwi can be showcased.”

Te Matatini Society and NZMACI are discussing the use of the mahau with a number of New Zealand organisations which are interested in using it for their events, which also attract global audiences.

Te Matatini promotes Māori performing arts through valuable assistance from the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Te Puni Kokiri. For the upcoming festival, strategic partners include the University of Waikato, New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute, New Zealand Post and Kiwibank, and Te Wananga o Aotearoa.


Updated on 23rd July 2015