At the opening of the meeting house Rākairoa at Harataunga marae in Kennedy Bay in 1996, renowned carver Pakariki Harrison talked about the importance of this traditional art form. His words, translated into English, are: ‘Carefully school your children in these skills, so that you will have descendants who have the ability to wield a chisel, or swing an adze, weave tukutuku panels, paint kowhaiwhai or carry out other related skills.’ (‘Me āta whakaakohia ou nei tamariki kia whai uri ai mohio ki te mau whao, ki te karawhiu toki, ki te tuitui tukutuku, ki te kanokano nga kowhaiwhai me era atu.’)
Paki Harrison was regarded as one of New Zealand’s greatest carvers, exceptionally skilled in the practice, and extremely knowledgeable about the symbolism of the designs and their role in transmitting tribal history.
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