Whakaraupo Whakairo v1

Whakaraupō Carving Centre creates whakairo commissions for iwi, hapū, whānau, schools, community organisations and government agencies.

Our creative process involves our kaiwhakairo and toi practitioners to undertake rangahau (research), explore creative ideas, methods, materials and pūrākau to inform a desired design. This process ensures we identify tikanga and kawa to be used during our mahi whakairo.

Recent commission projects

Hirepool Toki Paraihe

Construction Awards
Te Papa
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Hohepa Foundation

Waharoa, Barrington Street, Ōtautahi
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Timeball Pouwhenua

2 Reserve Terrace
Lyttelton, Ōtautahi
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Te Hamo

Ōtamahua/Quail Island Recreation Reserve
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“Hei pupuri te aho o te wānanga.
Hei kawe i ngā kura huna a Rua.”
To perpetuate the hidden schools of Rua.

It is believed that the term ‘Rua’ is descriptive of aspects of knowledge. Many obscure references are found in the ancient waiata, karakia, and orations. An obvious example is in whakapapa. This reverberates as part of literary tradition and conceptual language developed to hold specific types of knowledge at a certain level of perception. Pākāriki Harrison, and others, is of the belief that the Rua Schools and their priests upheld an elitist and secretive tiered system of education that was only available to certain sectors of the community. This was also tied into various art forms including the language.


Whakairo is the supreme artistic achievement of the Māori people. It holds a whole range of emotions and feelings of love and joy, hate, challenges, and reverence. A student would normally be born into this area of study, but it would usually be up to the Tohunga when, and at what level, he would commence his teaching. To be a student of whakairo they would go through the necessary draughting process, as only a certain type of student would have the proper credentials to enter this area of study. It may be that the process started at birth or at an age that would suit the Tohunga. Based on observation and kōrero ki ōku korua that everyone in the whānau, hapū and iwi had some knowledge of whakairo.

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