20 Dec 2012

Te Matatini Society wants mahau to showcase NZ's culture

7:01 pm on 20 December 2012

Te Matatini Society which hosts the national kapa haka festival, wants to see a 26 tonne carved mahau or porch front which will be unveiled at the 2013 competitions in Rotorua, used at other venues to showcase New Zealand's culture.

A team of 20 carvers at the Maori Art and Crafts Institute in Rotorua has been working for several months on kauri and totara logs to create the mahau, which will be more than 13 metres high and have a 30 metre span.

Te Matatini executive director Darrin Apanui says it will frame the stage at the festival and be a cultural doorway for competing kapa haka teams.

He says the society expects to use the mahau at many national kapa haka festivals, but would like also to see it used as a stage front for other performing arts.

Mr Apanui wants the huge carving, wherever it stands, to be recognised as a cultural gateway for all things New Zealand.