To Matou Ropu

Caine Tauwhare

Caine Tauwhare (Tainui / Ngāi Tahu) was born in Canterbury and raised in Ngaruawahia in the Waikato. He considers himself fortunate to have been raised among uncles who were carvers to Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the late Māori Queen, who passed away in 2006. He spent a lot of his childhood in the carving environment and although he never carved himself then, he was seldom without a pencil in his hand.

Caine spent seven years in the New Zealand Army, chiefly based at Burnham Military Camp, near Christchurch. When he left military service in 1993, he picked up that pencil again and started making enquiries about carving courses and apprenticeships. As a result he spent almost three years based in Whanganui, learning from carver, Dean Flavell, followed by a one year diploma course at Te Wananga o Raukawa.

He returned to Rapaki with his wife and children to reconnect with his own whakapapa. He great-aunt, Dawn Kottier and her cousin, the late Aunty Sissy (Waikura McGregor) had always dreamed of a local carving school and when he was asked to ‘come on board,’ Tauwhare jumped at the chance.

‘The carving centre and its kaupapa is about the whole person. There is still a lot of work to do to get where we want to be, but with support we have a strong vision of what we want to achieve, I know we will get there’ he says.

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Damian Mackie

Born in Wakatipu, Aotearoa, and a descendant of Ngati Kura, Damian’s kaupapa toi skill set encompasses Whakairo, Ta Moko and Rauangi (visual art).

Damian has a Bachelor of Māori Art – Maunga Kura Toi (Whakairo) and has been employed as Kaiwhakairo and Centre Manager at the Whakaraupō Carving Centre Trust.

Raised in Hornby, Otautahi, Damian was introduced to whakairo at school and developed his ability to draw Mahi Toi from a young age. 

Playing professional Rugby League up until his mid-30’s in Australia and the UK, Damian has held a variety of management roles in the resource, safety and construction industries in Western Australia and New Zealand. Damian has two trade qualifications and is undertaking part time study working towards a Post Graduate Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety.

As a Toi Practitioner, Damian has been guided by the kaupapa Toi Principles – Toi Awe, Toi Iro, Toi Hanga, Toi Raupapa, Toi Aro and Toi Hua. Damian promotes these Toi Principles at the Centre which has contributed towards the development of the Whakaraupō Kura Project and Whakaraupō Toi initiative.


Tiori Rahui-Aranui

At the age of only 16 Tiori's ability to create Mahi Toi was noticed by his kaiako when attending a Toi Aro Programme in 2020.  Tiori descends from Ngāti Kahungunu and moved to Otautahi with his whanau in 2018.

Tiori has been inspired by the knowledge passed onto him by the Kaiwhakairo at the Centre and has inspirations to become a Master Carver