Carver of the 21st century: Kereti Rautangata

Professor Kereti G. Rautangata (Tainui, Te Arawa and Ngaiterangi Ngāti Mahanga, Ngāti Tīpa, Ngāti Koroki, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Pukenga) is a Pouārahi Whakairo, managing national Māori wood carving programmes and tutor training, as well as a Whakairo Curriculum Designer at Te Wananga o Aotearoa. More information about his role there can be viewed hereHe is currently engaged in a ‘special rangahau /carving project’ (off-site, from June, 2017 on).

One of his latest projects was at Fairfield College, where he restored the wharenui Te Ihoranga. Read about it here.

He has received numerous accolades for his work:

  • In 2000, Kereti was accorded Pouwhenua status (Supreme Carver; the highest level of Priesthood) by Te Whakaruruhau Whakairo o Aotearoa, the most senior fraternity of Master Carvers of New Zealand. 
  • In April 2003, he was honoured by Te Wananga o Aotearoa, as Adjunct Professor.

Kereti was instrumental, with Tohunga Master Wood Carver, Dr Paakaariki Harrison, in developing the first ever Bachelors degree for Whakairo. This milestone achievement was acknowledged in the inaugural graduation of the first 18 foundational whakairo students in 2004 and subsequent graduations since. Then in 2005, he was awarded the NZQA Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award for ‘Excellence in Innovation’ for his Teaching skills and many diverse life-time achievements.

His other passion, equal to that of Whakairo, is as a qualified, Architectural Design Consultant. He is also highly accomplished in Māori Martial & Performing arts. Over ten years ago, Kereti co-founded a ‘Māori Spiritual Warrior School’, ‘He Tua Toatanga’, which he continues to direct through weekend workshops. He is also an acocmplished composer – listen to one of his songs here

He has exhibited locally, nationally and has presented internationally at conferences and indigenous events in Holland, Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, Spain, Hawai, Canada, USA, South America, Micronesia, South Africa, Greece, and Australia.

To Kereti, the highest function of Art, Whakairo, and ‘Mau-Rākau’, is as a ‘bridge to the Great Beyond’ and an ‘inspirational tool’ for multi-dimensional Transformation.

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