Tenders close on wharenui

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(RadioNZ) Tenders close on Friday for a privately owned Maori meeting house in Taupo built in the 1860s.
Te Tiki a Tamamutu, which has 44 carved figures, panels and posts, was commissioned by chief Hohepa Tamamutu. He sold it for 150 in 1886 to John Joshua, who re-erected it on its present site at the Spa hotel.

Te Tiki o Tamamutu, carved between 1860 and 1870 is the only privately owned whare whakairo in existence carved by legendary master carver Wero Taroi who trained Tene Waitere, one of New Zealand’s great 20th century carvers. Due to its national importance the current owner wishes to divest themselves of the responsibility of guardianship.

The Rotorua Daily post reported thatNew Zealand Heritage Place Trust restorer Jim Schuster whose tipuna helped carve a privately owned wharenui which is up for auction hopes his hapu can buy it and finally finish the work his ancestor started.

Mr Schuster is the descendant of nationally known carver Tene Waitere who, with his mentor Wero Taroi, carved the wharenui Te Tiki a Tamamutu in the 1860s. Mr Schuster said the hapu could not afford to pay the between $6 and $12 million Webb’s Auction House has estimated as the wharenui’s value.

“My koroua’s work is priceless and I have put a value of a dollar on it to get it back.”

He did not like his chances and understood there were four parties who had lodged tenders, including a Te Arawa person.

His grandfather’s work was hugely influential and Mr Schuster said Tene had become more prominent in recent years with a number of books published.

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