Tene Waitere

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Tene Waitere

Tene Waitere (1853–1931)

Tene carved for a living and was to work on numerous carved houses with his teacher and mentor Wero. These include 'Te Aroha o Rongoheikume' (Taupō Museum) and ‘Te Tiki o Tamamutu’, a meeting house now situated in the grounds of Taupo’s historic Spa Hotel. Tene also carved ‘Hinemihi’ near Te Wairoa, Lake Tarawera which was completed in 1881. This whare whakairo (carved house) was to provide Tene and many others much-needed shelter during the devastating volcanic eruption of nearby Mt Tarawera in June 1886 which killed around 120 people and many settlements were buried or destroyed.

Seven years later, Governor General William Hillier Onslow purchased Hinemihi for fifty pounds and the house was shipped in 23 pieces to Surrey and resurrected on the grounds of Clandon Houuse, thousands of kilometers away from home.

Tene was a tohunga whakairo, an authority on all aspects of Māori carving. He was trained under the strict rules of Ngāti Tārāwhai carving and the restrictions that were placed on tounga whakairo (carving experts).

Tene gave up his sanctity when he delivered his grand daughter (Guide Rangi) and was now free to push boundaries around carving. He went on to carve anything he could get his hands on, walking sticks, pipes, mantle pieces, store houses, lamp stands, mirror frames; and golf clubs!

The Waharoa/Gateway on the shores of Lake Taupō