Stone carving debuts at Tuku Iho

For the first time, Tuku Iho l Living Legacy will include stone carving on site as part of its upcoming exhibition in Los Angeles in October.


An exhibition of time-honoured Māori artworks, Tuku Iho features more than 80 pieces of art using wood, bone, stone and flax mediums, handcrafted by students and teachers at NZMACI. The exhibition is supported by an array of other art forms including kapa haka, in situ wood carving and tā moko (Māori tattoo).


In the past five years, Tuku Iho has exhibited in China, Malaysia, Chile, Argentina, Brazil and the United States (Washington, D.C.). 


Travelling to Los Angeles is Te Takapū-o-Rotowhio (The National Stone and Bone Carving School) stone carver, Rick Peters, of Ngāi Tai, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui and Ngā Puhi descent.


“It’s an exciting opportunity to be the first to represent Te Takapū at Tuku Iho,” says Rick.


He says while many different mediums are used for stone carving, such as greywacke and whale bone, he’ll be bringing some precious pounamu (greenstone) to Tuku Iho.


“Pounamu plays a very important role in Māori culture – it’s one of the most prized materials we have – so being able to carve this taonga (treasure) at Tuku Iho, alongside wood carving and tā moko (Māori tattoo) is a privilege.”


Rick says he’s limited as to what he can take overseas so most of the cutting and grinding will have to take place in New Zealand.


“In Los Angeles, I’ll be able to use small hand tools such as toki (adzes), whao (chisels), and whao whakakōka (gouges) to complete the finer details of the pieces.”


Following Venice Beach, Los Angeles, Tuku Iho will travel to Japan in 2019 as part of the lead up to the Rugby World Cup.