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 ad 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.

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

Whakaraupō Carving Centre Trust Board Members

Maata Smith - Tauwhare

Maata Smith-Tauwhare is a descendant of Ngāi Tahu / Ngāti Wheke. Maata was born in Lyttelton and had an amazing childhood raised in Rapaki, attending West Lyttelton Primary School then onto Te Wai Pounamu College. Initially trained to be a home science teacher, however with the support of my family and friends I retrained as a Primary School Teacher while my three sons were young. Maata is a retired Deputy Principal and is the current Chairperson of the Whakaraupō Carving Centre Trust. Maata has been a Board member since 2010. Maata passionately believes in the kaupapa of the Carving Centre and the amazing staff and board who support it. Currently Maata is thoroughly enjoying my retirement, reading a massive amount of books and babysitting her gorgeous Mokos.

Riaanna Deacon

Riaana Deacon-Tauwhare is a descendant of Ngāi Tahu / Ngāti Wheke. Born in Lyttelton,Riaana had a wonderful childhood at Rapaki

She attended Lyttelton West primary school then onto Te Wai Pounamu Maori girls college for secondary schooling. After leaving school Riaana worked at New Zealand railways then onto the ministry of transport as a parking meter officer for 9 years then travelled extensively overseas for 5 years returning to work for Groenz Ltd and Golden state foods USA for 24yrs  managing the Sth Island. Riaana undertook voluntary work for Christchurch Safer Community Council for 4yrs and Coggs Christchurch East local distribution committee for five years. Riaana has been a trustee for Te Mahi Korowai Trust at Rapaki for 20 years and 10 years as a Board member for Whakaraupo Carving Centre Trust in Whakaraupo / Lyttelton. Riaana is now enjoying her retirement with her husband Bob and her gorgeous Mokos.


June Swindells

Profession: Management, Support Services to Mama and their pepi CDHB contract delivered by Nga Hau E Wha National Marae.

Ko Wheke te Hapu – Ko Ngaitahu te Iwi

June served as a Director on the first Board of Te Runanga O Ngaitahu for many years and dedicated her interests to the service of her whanau, hapu and Iwi. As well as many local, national, corporate and community organisations of New Zealand, voluntary organisations such as the Lions Club, Maori Women’s Welfare League, N.Z  Maori Wardens, and environmental and health agencies have given her a varied outlook and balanced knowledge of her pa, land and people along with  the greater Community of Canterbury and Aotearoa. Of special interest is Youth and their progressive entry into the future

(03) 741 1410

30 Godley Quay, Lyttelton, Christchurch 8082