The Ngati Porou leader, statesman and scholar Sir Apirana Ngata initially mooted the concept of a Māori mark of quality and authenticity art in 1936.

It was further discussed by the New Zealand Māori Council in 1964, but not brought to fruition until 1997, under the direction of then Te Waka Toi Chair Elizabeth Ellis.  Te Waka Toi did not work in isolation.  A team of established Māori artists Hirini Melbourne, Robert Jahnke, and others, led by the eminent Tohunga Whakairo, Master Carver, Dr Paki Harrison devised the design of the Tohu (the Mark). Margaret Te Hiko was the Te Waka Toi Creative NZ Administrator of Toi Iho in those early days and Muriwai Ihakara was the Te Waka Toi Creative NZ Maori Manager.

It took five years to develop Toi Iho and register it as a legal trademark. During that time there were a series of workshops, gatherings and important national consultation hui with artists and communities in many parts of the country. As a result Te Waka Toi gained the approval and confidence of Maori to create Toi Iho as the national mark of quality and authenticity for Maori culture. Toi Iho was eventually launched in 2002 in Auckland and was managed by Creative NZ until 2009.

There has been somewhat of an hiatus for Toi Iho since that time but the trustees of the Toi Iho Charitable Trust are determined to continue working for the benefit of Toi Iho Maori art and Maori artists.

Trustees of the Toi Iho Charitable Trust 2022:

Elizabeth Ellis CNZM JP,  Ngāi Tane, Te Whānau ā Takimoana, Ngāti Porou,  Ngāti Kuta, Ngāpuhi, Chair Toi Iho Charitable Trust  

Margaret Te Hiko, Senior Policy Analyst, Ngāti Wairangi, Ngāti Raukawa                   

Moana Maniapoto, MNZM  LLB  Laureate AFNZ, Ngāti Tuwharetoa, Te Arawa

Professor Robert Jahnke, ONZM Ngāi Taharora, Te Whanau a Iritekura, Te Whanau a Rakiroa o Ngāti Porou

Dr Benjamin Pittman, ONZM Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hao – Te Popoto, Te Parawhau, Ngāti Hau  

Elizabeth Hauraki, Treasurer/ FundRaiser, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou

Honorary Trustee

Dr Sandy Adsett, MNZM JP MMVA, Ngāti Pahauwera, Ngāti Kahungunu

Associate Members 2022:  Elizabeth Harte, Associate Professor Ngarino Ellis, Dr Moana Jackson, Dr Arapata Hakiwai, Nigel Borell, Tim Melville, Ngahuia Harrison.


Oct 2010

Toi Iho TIFF meeting:
(L-R) Elizabeth Ellis, Carin Wilson, Aroha Mead, Margaret Te Hiko, Manos Nathan, Moana Maniapoto, Maui Solomon, Bob Jahnke.

Oct 2009

Toi Iho hui – Herenga Waka Marae, Victoria University

Caption: (L-R) Back row: Norm Heke, Suzanne Tamaki, Blain Te Rito, Gabrielle Belz, Gary Nicholas, Collen Urlich, Te Rongo Kirkwood, Professor Robert Jahnke, Manos Nathan, Carin Wilson, Jacob Scott, Maree Mills, Stacy Gordine, Chris Bailey

Front: Unknown , Wena Tait, Wendy Whitehead , Margaret Te Hiko, Elizabeth Ellis, Cherie Waititi, Ata Te Kanawa, Kahu Te Kanawa, Aroha Mead, Ngaahina Hohaia.

The Design Team.  June 2001 Te Waka Toi, Creative NZ

Caption: Toi Iho Whanau (L-R Standing) Back row: Matire Ropiha, Ata Te Kanawa, Muriwai Ihakara, Kereti Rautangata, Riki Moeau, Dr Paki Harrison, Ata Papa, Professor Robert Jahnke, Toby Mills, Jacob Scott, Jonathan Mane-Wheoki, Manos Nathan

Seated: Elizabeth Kerr, Erenora Puketapu-Hetet, Elizabeth Ellis, Hinewai Harrison, Margaret Te Hiko, Moana Maniapoto.

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