17 Feb 2015

Native timber and carvers to visit Chile

8:24 am on 17 February 2015

A large tōtara log has been shipped to South America, where two Māori carvers will soon arrive to make a pou maumahara - or memorial sculpture.

They will join a rōpū of ten kapa haka performers and a tā moko expert on a Māori Arts and Crafts Institute tour of the continent.

The Tuku Iho Exhibition in Penang.

The Tuku Iho Exhibition in Penang. Photo: Supplied

The carvers will chisel away at the wood in Chile, and will leave the artwork behind in the capital Santiago as a gift.

Institute's director Karl Johnstone said the Tuku Iho tour explores the meaning of identity in a modern world.

"The concept of this particular carving in tōtara...it's about four metres high...our carvers will be working in situ at the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center and really encouraging those wider conversations about identity today with those people who visit".

Karl Johnstone says after the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute tour in March it will head to Argentina and Brazil.

The Tuku Iho show toured Malaysia last year.

Mr Johnstone said the tour is part of developing a long-term relationship with the Rapa Nui - the people of Easter Island.

The institute has committed to build a waka hourua - or double-hulled canoe - for the islanders.

It will plan, design and build a waka, with wood gifted by Te Arikinui o Ngāti Tūwharetoa - Sir Timu te Heuheu.

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