Site development update – June

The significant site developments at Te Puia | New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) continue to unfold, as many of the projects reach their final phase of development.


The developments include a significant new Wānanga Precinct for the national schools of wood carving, weaving, and stone and bone carving; a 300-seat function centre including a café and restaurant overlooking Whakarewarewa Valley and the world-famous Pōhutu Geyser; as well as a state-of-the-art kiwi house.


Offsite, Te Puia l NZMACI have been involved in the design of a 12m-high 3D printed sculpture that will be erected in the centre of the roundabout outside Te Puia.


Wānanga Precinct


The final phase of the new Wānanga Precinct has been completed and manuhiri (visitors) have been welcomed through its doors.


With the students and tutors at the precinct settled in, manuhiri can now gain a more in-depth understanding of Māori material culture in the three disciplines of weaving, wood carving, and stone and bone carving, as well as viewing the casting process at the bronze foundry.


The old carving school has been transformed with purpose-built areas accommodating the new Āhua Gallery for revolving exhibitions, tā moko (Māori tattoo) studio and premium Te Taki lounge.


Whare kai

Perched to overlook the geothermal vista with stunning views of Pōhutu geyser, the new 300-seat whare kai (café and restaurant) will take Te Puia’s commitment to manaakitanga (hosting) to a new level. The whare kai captures the valley’s spectacular backdrop to create a remarkable dining experience for manuhiri.


Developments of the whare kai, which is scheduled to open in late July, see the roof and concrete walls in place. With this the attention has now turned inside; fitting out the internal features and installing the window joinery.


External landscaping will also commence shortly with work starting on re-cobbling the areas around the building and developing the garden.


Visitor info:

In order to provide our manuhiri with a range of food and beverage options, a temporary container café is located underneath the Whakaruruhau (a large sheltered area near the entrance of Te Puia).


This area also includes a “hot section” so manuhiri can enjoy their kai (food) straight from the barbeque.


Kiwi house

The new kiwi house will be located further down Whakarewarewa Valley than the existing kiwi house. Nestled into the slope, the new building’s location will lend itself to the effect of entering down into the kiwi burrow, providing manuhiri with a significantly enhanced experience. 


The new site has been cleared of trees in preparation for the building platform, which will be re-landscaped with natives once the building is complete.


Construction of the new building will be underway shortly. 


Visitor info:

The existing kiwi house is still open to visitors, meaning manuhiri to Te Puia during this expansion phase will still be able to experience seeing our precious kiwi bird’s up close.


The 3D printed sculpture to be elevated at the centre of the roundabout outside Te Puia, is in production.


The 12m-high southern entrance sculpture was designed by NZMACI tutor and artist, Stacy Gordine, from the stone and bone carving school. Local firm Kilwell Fibretube has been commissioned to make the sculpture.  


The sculpture is being 3D printed in 600mm sections. Each piece will then be joined together to provide the correct shape for the layering of the carbon fibre ‘sock’. Ten 3D printers are running 22 hours a day until completion.


Te Puia special projects manager, Nick Dallimore says the 3D printing of the sculpture is “coming along nicely”, but a final date for the sculpture to be put in place hasn’t yet been confirmed.


“Everything we’re doing is new. It’s a complete learning curve for everyone involved, which is cool because this knowledge can be used for future projects.


“When its complete, it will be amazing and worth the wait.”