Our Kaiwhakairo was Wiremu Tuhira. Following is his profile from 2003:

From: Ruatoria – East Coast

Iwi: Tairawhiti

Awa: Waiapu

Whanau: Ngati Kuri Paaka O Uetuhiao



Whakairo is the Maori name for carving.

Wiremu has been carving for 4 years and drawing for 10 years.

He learnt to carve at Whitireia in Porirua.

Wiremu decides what to carve from templates or drawings. These are designed according to what the people want. You need to be creative. He recommends to anyone wanting to be a carver to practise drawing and to be creative.

The people he looks up to in regards to carving are; Hone and Pine Taiapa from Ngati Porou, Lionel Grant from Rotorua and Takirirangi Smith from Ngatikahungunu ki Wairarapa.

His favourite carvings he has worked on are: Te Ohanga Pii - Canoe of Maui, Iwi Kairakau – Tekoteko in Easter Island and our ‘Paparore Waharoa’ – Gateway!

Tools needed to carve are; V chisels, gouges, flat chisels and a pencil

Wiremu has a karakia to start and finish the carvings and also while he is working. During the time he was carving, he had a tokotoko watching the progress throughout.

He was pleased to share his knowledge throughout the process with staff, parents and occasional visitors to the school, but especially the tamariki. If one student took up carving from his work here, he would be extremely pleased!