9-3-2016 - Rotorua carver Albert Te Pou was reunited with two very special carvings at his workshop last week.
The Hinemoa and Tutanekai tekoteko (carved human form) he completed for City Focus back in 1994 are now with him for restoring so they can take pride of place back at the northern entrance of the refurbished inner-city feature.
As part of the City Focus refresh, the taonga were taken down by Traditional Landscapes and Tallyho Industries, under the watchful eye of Rotorua Lakes Council community arts advisor Marc Spijkerbosch.
They will go back up on the pillars once construction is complete.
The macrocarpa carvings looked sound when they arrived, said Te Pou but will need some of Te Pou’s artistry before they go back up because of their exposure to 20 years of weathering.
Once he fixes the imperfections that nature has rendered on his carvings, Te Pou will prepare the wood using an oil-based primer and then two coats of burgundy paint, similar to the colour of the carvings in Government Gardens.
Te Pou was in his mid-20s when he carved Hinemoa and Tutanekai and was fresh out of his training at the New Zealand Maori Arts and Craft Institute at Whakarewarewa.
Te Pou’s carving style features a lot of flow. Hinemoa and Tutanekai have been proportioned into thirds, for example.
While he does use some traditional tools in his carving, it is the more modern chainsaw which is his favoured tool of trade for the bigger pieces he does.
“It will be nice to see them back up, if people like what they see, then that’s a bonus for me.”
Community arts advisor Marc Spijkerbosch said he was looking forward to seeing the taonga back where they belong after the refresh.