E ngā mana, e ngā reo, tēnā koutou katoa.

Like the unfurling of a pōnga fern, the Māori Arts Programme, Ngā Toi Māori, has grown from a Year 10 subject in 2021 to a subject that spans Years 9, 10, 11, and 12 in 2022. Ngā Toi Māori sits within the new Te Manu Taki, Māori department. Students are continuing to journey up the ‘poutama’, learning stairway, into Mātauranga Māori, Māori knowledge and into cultural identity.

This year’s ākonga are busy developing their skills and knowledge around using the tools of a whakairo carver. Our Year 10 ākonga are currently applying this knowledge by creating a wheku mask. They have eagerly stepped up to the challenges faced by the whakairo carver and are creating unique pieces that they are proud of.

Our Year 11 and 12 Whakairo Mahi Toi students are also busy familiarizing themselves with the wheku design. Our Senior ākonga are for the first time working towards NZQA Whakairo – Carving standards. This is new territory that we are navigating. The class is currently analysing art pieces from various carvers to demonstrate their understanding of how a carver shows meaning in their work. This task is both exciting and demanding, journeying through knowledge through and around the art pieces by exploring the pūrākau stories and unwinding the meaning encoded in the carvings to reveal their rich source of mātauranga knowledge.

We are all very excited to see what our ākonga end up creating, and I would like to take the opportunity to thank whānau and friends for their ongoing tautoko – support.

Ko te piko o te māhuri, ko tērā te tipu o te rākau.
The way the sapling is nurtured, determines how the tree will grow.

Tīhei mauri ora!