Carvers come together for exhibition

Toi awe, toi 'iro', toi hanga, toi tiahoaho!

SIENA YATES
Last updated 09:16 03/10/2012

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Some of the nation's top carvers are joining Te Wananga o Aotearoa students at a symposium in Te Awamutu to create an exhibition in only one week.

Nine carving tutors from as far as Palmerston North each picked two students to join the symposium and have been working night and day as a part of their degree, Te Maunga Kura Toi (Bachelor of Maori Visual Arts).

Kaiarahi whakairo (carving leader), Kereti Rautangata Snr. and head tutor Te Kuiti Stewart, are organising the carvers for Friday's exhibition.

"The name of the exhibition...encompasses inspiration, exploration, manifestation and transformation. It summarises the whole process from start to finish," said Mr Rautangata.

"[The students] earned the right to be here. They're not all necessarily the supreme top students, its more about reliability, honesty, and trust. It gives them a standard to aspire to."

Rotorua student Henare Ropata, 24, agreed, saying was a privilege to have been chosen.

"I'm having a blast, learning heaps. It's good to see different classes from all over and seeing what they've got going on, and seeing the different work that's happening," he said.

Smithy Andrews, a Taumarunui man studying in Palmerston North, said the symposium was proof that "if you work hard you get rewarded".

"It's been awesome being up here with other carvers that actually want to be here. This is a great opportunity, I've been waiting for this for a long time, and I'm totally enjoying it."

Each tutor and his students researched one of four categories to base their marquette designs on, and that research will be part of a book due for release in December, as a tool for future learning.

The marquettes are currently being carved, to be presented in full size - some being up to three meters high - and will be accompanied by individual pieces by the tutors.

The exhibition, "Toi awe, toi 'iro', toi hanga, toi tiahoaho!", opens on Friday, October 5.

The powhiri is at 12pm, the opening and karakia at 12.30pm, and later presentations from "world class master carvers" Fred Graham, Rex Homan and Kereti Rautangata at 1.30pm.

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