Skip to Content

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MAORI WEAVING, ART & CARVING IN NZ

INSIDE: Everything you need to know about the best places in New Zealand to experience & learn about Maori weaving, Maori carving, & Maori art.

A visit to New Zealand is not complete without time learning about the culture of the local Indigenous people, and this includes learning about their traditional arts and crafts.

You might also like to return home with an authentic piece of Maori art for your wall or a Maori weaving of some kind, or find Maori gifts and souvenirs for family and friends.

This is our guide to where you can find genuine Maori souvenirs and artefacts, as well as see Māori weaving, Maori carving and Maori artists at work.

Read our guide to the Best Places in New Zealand to see Maori weaving, art & carving. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, we may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you. Main image: Jane Nearing via Flickr CC BY NC 2.0

maori carving school by denisbin

Image credit: Denisbin via Flickr CC BY ND-2.0

THE INSIDE SCOOP: WHERE TO FIND MAORI WEAVING ART & CARVING IN NEW ZEALAND

Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in NZ dollars, unless otherwise stated

We’ve gathered a list of the cultural attractions around New Zealand (Rotorua, Auckland, Taupo, Wellington, and Hokitika) where you can engage with Maori culture and traditional Maori arts and crafts.

We’ve also included the best art galleries and museum shops where you can purchase authentic traditional Maori art, Maori weaving and Maori carved jewellery.

Main image: Jane Nearing


RELATED: Big Guide to the Best Things to do in Rotorua for families & kids

800px-Group_of_Maori_women_weaving_flax_baskets_(kete),_at_Rangiahua,_1918._ATLIB_297992

Image credit: Albert Godber via Public domain

THE BEST PLACE TO SEE MAORI ART & MAORI WEAVING ON THE NORTH ISLAND

No.1: Te Puia Rotorua (Te Rito Weaving School)

The best place to see traditional Maori weaving and learn about the originals of Maori weaving is at Te Puia in Rotorua.

At New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI) at Te Puia, students are taught to weave traditional taonga using New Zealand native harakeke (flax) at Te Rito, The National Weaving School.

At Te Puia, you can also watch the weavers at work and interact with them as they create garments of great beauty with their Maori weaving tools.

flax weaving by jane nearing

Image credit: Jane Nearing via Flickr CC BY ND-2.0

Join a weaving class at Te Puia

If you want to join in a weaving class, you can book the Te Puia Steambox Tour.

Te Puia Steambox Tour visitors are invited to weave a puitputi (flower), under the watchful guidance of their guide.

And then there’s the lunch!

A steam box lunch prepared the traditional way: cooked over steam vents at the Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley.

Plus, you can see Kiwi birds up close.

Now that’s a great one day itinerary in New Zealand.

te-papa-weaving-collection

Image credit: Te Papa Tongarewa

No.2: Te Papa Museum Wellington

Te Papa showcases a collection of Maori weaving.

When there are no workshops or demonstrations available, you will be inspired and awed by the talents of Maori weavers in making:

  • New Zealand poi balls
  • kete whakairo (patterned bags)
  • kete pāpā (bags)
  • porotaka toys
  • ‘āriki kaingākai (table mat)
  • cloaks
  • clothing and
  • hair decorations.

The Maori weaving patterns are something else.

PS: Pop into the Te Papa Gift Store to find Maori weaving for sale.

No.3: Hetet School of Maori Art Weaving Classes

And thanks to technology, you can now take part in a weaving class online through the Hetet School of Maori Art, based in the Lower Hutt region of New Zealand, near Wellington.

The courses by Veranoa Hetet teach loom-free hand weaving, to make baskets, bags, and backpacks.

She shows the techniques for preparing flax for weaving too.

PS: You may be lucky enough to see Veranoa in action at Te Papa from time to time and learn from her knowledge.

hetet school of art logo

Hetet Weaving Courses

Hetet School of Weaving courses 

Take a look at the Hetet courses on offer

maori-weaving-rotorua

Image credit: Maori Weaving Rotorua

No.4: Rotorua Cultural Centre

You can also join a weaving workshop with Anna the the Cultural centre in Rotorua, at 1144 Hinemoa St Rotorua.

Learn the traditional Maori weaving technique, raranga, as well as the customs and traditions of working with NZ native flax.

You’ll discover the importance of flax to Maori, how it relates to family, and learn a few words of Maori language.

Suitable for adults and children over 5 years. 

All materials provided.

kete lady pic

No.5: Kete Lady

You can also check in with the Kete Lady, Karen Clark, about hands-on weaving workshops to make:

  • kete bags
  • kete hoko shopping bags
  • konae woven bags
  • putiputi
  • pikau and more.

Located in Waitara, New Zealand.

Text Karen 0226482713 for details of Monday and Saturday workshops.

maori basket weaving by denisbin

Image credit: Denisbin via Flickr CC BY ND-2.0

Maori Weaving Patterns & Types of Weaving in New Zealand

“Hineteiwaiwa is the principal goddess of te whare pora (the house of weaving), and she represents the arts pursued by women.

Ngā mahi a te whare pora (the products and processes of the house of weaving) include the following:

No.1: Tāniko

A technique used to decorate the borders of fine garments, as well as bird cages, bird traps, and eel baskets. Tāniko is similar to European twining.

These days tāniko is used to make belts, purses, bodices, armbands, headbands, and bandoliers.

No.2: Arapaki or tukutuku

Ornamental latticework, usually found adorning the walls of wharenui.

No.3: Piupiu

 The art of making a flax garment worn around the waist.

No.4: Whatu

 The weaving technique known as the ‘cloak weave’, used to produce fabric.

No.5: Whiri

Various forms of plaiting used to make poi, waist girdles, and headbands.

No.6: Raranga

One of the weaving styles used to make kete (bags and baskets).”

Source: Museum of New Zealand

tu-tangata-weaving-for-the-people

MAORI WEAVING BOOKS & RESOURCES

No.1: Tu Tangata, Weaving for the People DVD

This film festival documentary is an intimate portrait into the place of weaving in the life of Maori weaving and artist Erenora Puketapu-Hetet, her whanau and community.

Buy it through Wheelers books.

know-your-maori-weaving-book

No.2: Know Your Maori Weaving book

The best book to learn Maori weaving is this one: Know Your Maori Weaving by Viking Sevenseas.

It shows you how to make simple objects such as headbands, flax mats, and baskets, and then there’s more complicated projects for intermediate weavers too.

No.3: Maori Weaving guide

Another option is the book, Maori Weaving.

This is an introductory guide to Maori weaving by Erenora Puketapu-Hetet.

Maori Weaving on Youtube

How to weave a Harakheke Whetū (Star)

You can also learn how to make:

maori carving school totems by floyd wilde

Image credit: Floyd White via Flickr CC BY SA-2.0

MAORI CARVING ON THE NORTH ISLAND

No.1: Maori Carving at Te Puia Rotorua

In Rotorua, visit Te Puia, home to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute. 

The three faculties on site are:

  • The National Wood Carving School (Te Wānanga Whakairo Rākau)
  • the National Stone and Bone Carving School (Te Takapū o Rotowhio)  and
  • the National Weaving school 

“The schools were founded in the mid-60s, and teach traditional Maori craftsmanship to young people from across NZ who then take those skills back to their home towns.”

Watch the students carve:

  • Maori instruments
  • Human figure statues
  • Tiki masks
  • Wood carving necklaces
  • Koru and Twist carvings
  • Maori walking sticks
  • Maori fish hook
  • Wakahuia treasure boxes

Related: Ultimate Guide of Things to do in New Zealand with kids

mahau carving by jane nearing 8512147576

Image credit: Jane Nearing via Flickr CC BY ND-2.0

Te Puia Tour Prices (Entry to village)

The only way in to Te Puia is on a tour. Take a look at these three options:

Budget: Te Puia Maori Village Entry.

Learn Maori history and culture at Te Puia arts school with a day entry ticket.

Come face to face with the Pohutu Geyser, jumping mud pools, and live kiwi birds.

The day tour is the way to see students at the Rotorua Carving school practicing Maori carving and Maori weaving. 

You can also upgrade this ticket include a 45-minute Maori cultural performance.

From $32 USD per person

Top pick: Te Puia Maori Cultural Evening Experience with Hangi Dinner

Experience a one-of-a-kind evening feast of Maori storytelling, entertainment, and Maori cuisine at Te Puia.

Watch a Maori concert, enjoy authentic traditional Maori food and drinks, and marvel at the breathtaking beauty of the geothermal valley and the Pohutu Geyser under lights.

From $136 NZ adults, and $68 NZ children

Address: Te Puia, Hemo Rd, Rotorua

mine bay maori rock carvings by larry koester

Image credit: Larry Koester via Flickr CC BY-2.0

No.2: Lake Taupo Maori Rock Carvings

At Lake Taupo, you can go on a boat tour to see the Taupo Carvings.

You’ll sail to the famous Taupo Rock Carvings, and take in the spectacular views of Lake Taupo framed by Tongariro National Park’s majestic mountain peaks.

Photo- boys doing maori carving at hells gate thermal park

No.3: Maori Wood Carving at Hells Gate Geothermal Park 

Take a tour of Hells Gate Geothermal Park

It’s a MUST DO in New Zealand if you are visiting Rotorua

(Read our insider’s guide to the Hells gate tour here)

At the end of the Rotorua thermal park tour, you can join in a Maori carving workshop, learn some Maori carving techniques, hear stories about famous New Zealand wood carving artists, and take home a small carved souvenir of your endeavours.

(Read our review of the Maori carving experience here)

Photo- mud spa in rotorua amber and jack

Hot tip: Rotorua Hells Gate Mud Baths 

If you are going to Hells Gate in Rotorua, and have an extra hour or two, book the Hells Gate Mud Spa and Sulphur Spa experience. 

We understood how the Wicked Witch of the West must have felt as we started dissolving in the boiling hot mud spa, but at the same time laughed ourselves silly as we covered our bodies with silky Rotorua mud.

This remains one of our Top 10 travel experiences around the world to date.

(Read our review here)

So Much Fun.

Address: State Highway 30 Tikitere, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand

mountain jade rotorua

No.4: Greenstone Carving at Mountain Jade Rotorua

Join a FREE guided Jade Discovery tour of the workshop at Mountain Jade Rotorua.

Visit the long standing store on Fenton Street to learn about the carving process of jade by hand, culture, and history surrounding jade carving.

The shop also boasts a large collection of jade carvings from New Zealands best for sale.

Address: 1288 Fenton Street, Rotorua Central, Rotorua,3015, New Zealand.
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday, 9am to 6pm
Website: Click here

“Mo Te Iwi, Carving for the People” Film

A new feature length film called Mo Te Iwi was recently released about Whakairo and the life of one of the last ‘Konae Aronui’ carvers, trained in the 1950s, to carve wharenui.

Take a look at the trailer above, where the director Robin Greenberg discusses the project and introduces you to traditional carver, Rangi Hetet.

Interesting fact: Rangi Hetet is the father of Verenoa Hetet, mentioned above.

westland greenstone

THE BEST PLACE TO SEE MAORI ART & MAORI CARVING ON THE SOUTH ISLAND

No.1: Westland Greenstone, Hokitika

Take a tour of thee Westland Greenstone Factory to see carving artists at work.

Address: 34 Tancred Street, Hokitika 7810, New Zealand.
Opening hours:  8.30am to 5pm daily
Website: Click here

bonz n stonz studio pic

No.2: Bonz n Stonz Carving Studio and Gallery, Hokitika

Bonz ‘n’ Stonz carving studio & Gallery to see Maori greenstone and bone carving in Hokitika.

But the best thing is you can CARVE YOUR OWN PIECE, with the help of their master carvers.

Make a booking via email: [email protected]

Address:  16 Hamilton Street, Hokitika, 7810
Opening hours: 9am to 5pm daily
Website: Click here

mountain jade hokitika pic

No.3: Mountain Jade Hokitika

Step into the Mountain Jade gallery workshop in Hokitika and discover the largest collection of jade art and jewellery in New Zealand.

Meet the country’s finest greenstone artists and see them at work transforming raw stone into carved art.

Each piece in their exclusive collection is one of a kind and lovingly handcrafted from New Zealand pounamu and the finest quality jade from around the world.

Join the FREE Jade Discovery Tour at 9.30am & 2.30pm daily.

Address: 41 Weld St, Hokitika 7810, New Zealand
Opening hours: 8.30am to 5pm daily
Website: Click here

kura-gallery-1

Image credit: Lucian Nistor

WHERE TO BUY MAORI NEW ZEALAND ART & CRAFTS

No.1: Kura Gallery Art Space Auckland

Kura Gallery features traditional and contemporary Maori carving, Maori art, original artworks, innovative design, homewares, unique jewellery, furniture and genuine pounamu/greenstone.

Address: 95A Customs Street West (Viaduct Basin – behind Portofino) Auckland 1010.
Opening hours:

  • Monday to Friday 10am – 6pm
  • Saturday & Sunday 11am – 4pm

Website: Click here

kura-gallery-2

Image credit: Lucian Nistor

No.2: Kura Gallery Wellington

The second outpost for the Kura Gallery, this time in Wellington.

Don’t miss this gallery shop in New Zealand if you are looking for authentic Maori souvenirs and gifts.

Address: 19 Allen Street (Courtenay Quarter) Te Aro Wellington 6011
Opening hours:

  • Monday to Friday 10am – 6pm
  • Saturday & Sunday 11am – 4pm

Website: Click here

hobbiton gift shop green dragon inn mugs pic

Looking for places to shop in New Zealand?

Click the links in blue for more Rotorua ideas below.

ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE TAUPO PLAYGROUND NEW ZEALAND
← Previous
SECRET TO MAGICAL LAUNDRY SMELL IN BALI - COULD IT BE KISPRAY?
Next →

Ewoja John

Tuesday 30th of June 2020

I'm looking forward ta reconnecting with anyone from the group that came too San Francisco ina 2005 & did and exhibition at the Yerba Buena Forum ,, There were Moko artist and a lot of the Bone jewelry and they also had ah 53 foot Waka Waka that they assembled and rowed under the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bridge ina Oakland and held a ceremony at the Aquatic Park with the Native Tribes from that Area ,, there was also a ceremony at the Forum one night the Queen spoke ,, mi was supposed to go to New Zealand ,, ina 2007 ,, however mi had a horrific {bike\car} accident and had a four year rehabilitation ,, so that trip never Hapan ,, I'm planning on coming ta New Zealand hopefully by end of 2020 ,, mi now live ina Hawaii ????

Edward W. John / Ewoja 808 990~8678

Amber Greene

Wednesday 1st of July 2020

Sounds like a great trip Ewoja. Good luck finding your friends.


Affiliate Disclosure:

This website contains references to products and services from our favourite brands. Some of these are affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking after clicking on a link on Roam the Gnome™, we may receive a small affiliate commission at NO COST to you. All information on disclosures can be found in our Privacy Policy

Roam the Gnome ™ is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for website owners to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com, and any other website that may be affiliated with Amazon Service LLC Associates program. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Click here for a detailed explanation of our Advertising policy.

Thank you for visiting Roam the Gnome Family Travel™ Website Directory. Bookmark this page so you can find us again.