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New Zealand Foreign Minister visits Gallery Tavioni and Vananga

Saturday 15 October 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Culture, National

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New Zealand Foreign Minister visits Gallery Tavioni and Vananga
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Aotearoa New Zealand, Nanaia Mahuta gifted with a carved oe made by Mike Tavioni. 22101462.

Puati Mataiapo, George Ngapare welcomed New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta to the Gallery Tavioni and Vananga on Thursday, with a traditional turou.

Renowned artist and master carver Mike Tavioni said he was “very grateful” for Mahuta’s visit to see the work of the carvers in building 10 double hulled sailing vaka/canoes as part of Te Mana O te Vaka boat building and sailing project.

“I believe in keeping the traditional life skills alive and we hope to demonstrate that there’s value in what we are doing and perhaps if there is any financial help, it will come into the right places,” Tavioni said.

“I hope to also demonstrate that I’m really happy that the people working on this project are working together and are all willing and interested in this project and have the passion of being a Maori.”

Te Mana O te Vaka is about life skills, like the building of canoes for fishing, says Tavioni.

“We look after the environment and we know a healthy environment gives life.”

Minister Mahuta was presented a carved oe by Tavioni on behalf of the carvers and members of Te Mana O te Vaka.

The revival of traditional canoe building project is a collaboration between the Cook Islands Voyaging Society (CIVS) and the Gallery Tavioni and Vananga.

Te Mana O te Vaka project is made possible with funding provided by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), European Union, Government of Sweden as well as the University of the South Pacific (USP) with the Pacific European Union Marine Partnership programme.

The canoes carved from albesia wood measure about 21 feet in length and can each carry three or four people.