Wānanga Precinct opens its doors

Te Puia l NZMACI have completed phase one of its new Wānanga Precinct and are excited to welcome manuhiri (visitors), who can now view students and tutors putting their hands to traditional Māori arts and crafts in four disciplines.


Historically manuhiri have been privileged to a full emersion of traditional Māori culture and craftsmanship, watching students and teachers from whakairo rākau (wood carving) and te rito (weaving) wānanga (schools).


With phase one of the Wānanga Precinct now complete, this unique and educational visitor experience has been extended to include the te takapu (stone and bone carving) and te ahi kōmau (bronze foundry).


The layout of the Wānanga Precinct will lead manuhiri into the building past ten tekoteko (carved figures), a celebration of the wānanga graduated students. The first working exhibition is the national school of stone and bone carving; visitors will then be greeted by the bronze foundry, where students and tutors showcase their skills and engage fascinated onlookers seeking an insight into their world.


Both te takapu and te ahi kōmau students and tutors are excited to be in the new Wānanga Precinct, with the opportunity and challenge of demonstrating their artistry and craftsmanship to visitors from around the world.


Foundry technician, Dirk Peters says he’s enjoying the experience, which is a complete contrast from where the foundry was initially located.


“We’re currently working on the replication, in bronze, of the eight tekoteko and four wheeled form post that originally surrounded the Te Arawa War Memorial in the Government Gardens.


“We’ve started the wax casting process, which manuhiri are really interested in and we get plenty of questions about what the process involves. Because we’re working on the project in real time, we’re able to show them.”


After an insightful view into the stone and bone carving school, and bronze foundry, manuhiri continue their excursion up the ramp for a bird’s eye view of the wood carvers at work, before funnelling out through the weaving school and into what used to be the old wood carving school (phase two) and the next chapter of the Wānanga Precinct.


Phase two will include a tā moko (Māori tattoo) studio, gallery space and a premium Te Taki lounge. These additions are due to be completed in April 2018.