Story: Whakairo – Māori carving

Raharuhi Rukupō

Raharuhi Rukupō

Raharuhi Rukupō, one of the greatest tohunga whakairo (expert carvers) of the 19th century, carved this poupou (wall carving) of himself in the early 1840s. This and other poupou were produced by Rukupō (of Rongowhakaata) and 18 other tohunga whakairo for the great whare whakairo (carved house) Te Hau-ki-Tūranga. The poupou shows Rukupō holding a ceremonial greenstone toki (adze), although Te Hau-ki-Tūranga was apparently carved with steel-bladed tools and is the oldest surviving house made in this way.

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Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: PAColl-6407-20

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Brett Graham, 'Whakairo – Māori carving - Carving, 19th century', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 26 March 2023)

Story by Brett Graham, published 22 Oct 2014