About Whaotapu

Whaotapu are a collective of Tohunga Toi Ake who have been recognised and mandated by their tribes for generations. Acknowledged as traditional knowledges holders, experts, and authorities of Māori art, culture, heritage, Whaotapu are supported by mana whenua whānau, hapū, iwi, matawaka, and communities across Tāmaki Makaurau and Aotearoa, weaving people together through a kaupapa that is both transformative and enduring.

The Mana Whenua Puawaitanga and Launch of Whaotapu occurred in 2014, when Mana Whenua Rangatira and Kaumatua of Tāmaki Makaurau, and hapū, iwi of Aotearoa, gathered together in honour of the historical kaupapa of bringing the Tohunga Toi Ake together as a collective. Mana Whenua acknowledged and affirmed the whakapapa of nga Tohunga to their hapū and iwi. They gave an ingoa, a name to the collective, namely ‘Whaotapu’, the ‘Sacred Chisels’. Mana Whenua agreed that to futureproof the legacy of Tohunga Toi Ake, they would support Whaotapu to preserve and protect of the ancient first language of Māori - Toi.

The collective of Tohunga is now supported by Nga Whaotapu o Tāmaki Makaurau Trust, formally established to provide governance, strategic direction, management support, public trust, validity and accountability to its kaupapa - Toi.


Our Values


Spirit and Vision

Toi Taonga / Tohunga Toi Ake

  • Spirit of Māori / Te Ao Māori
  • Taonga Toi / Tohunga Toi Ake
  • Kawa / Tikanga / Te Reo
  • Aroha / Whakapono
  • Integrity of Kaupapa / Purpose
  • Strong Identity / Authenticity


Stronger Together

Kotahitanga - Whakapapa / Whanaungatanga / Humarie

  • Robust & Dynamic Organisation
  • Strengthen Capability / Capacity
  • Strategic Networks / Partnerships
  • Participative / Cooperative Engagement
  • Collaborative Decision-Making
  • Strong and Resilient Relationships


Actively Support

Manaakitanga - Whakatinana

  • Design / Creative Excellence
  • TOI ORA Taonga / Guardianship
  • Taonga Toi Programmes / Projects
  • Events / Living Exhibitions
  • Innovation and Incubation
  • Nga Pou / Te Mana


Achieve Goals

Whakamana - Mauri / Mana

  • Tohungatanga / Mātauranga Toi
  • Te Whare Wananga Toi Ake
  • Authentic Contexts Preserved
  • Learning and Knowledge Culture
  • Centre of Cultural Sovereignty
  • Economic Growth & Reciprocity


Thrive and Lead

Rangatiratanga - Mana Motuhake

  • Cultural & Creative Leadership
  • Positive Outcomes for Māori
  • Improve Māori NZ wellbeing
  • Sustainable Infrastructure
  • Global Champions of Taonga

Our Team

Whaotapu is led by Tohunga Toi Ake cultural leaders and representatives of their tribes and communities who provide leadership and ensure that the mauri / life force of the Whaotapu remains intact and strong. The organisation support structure of Whaotapu Trust is directed by highly dedicated and highly skilled Kaitiaki who are official Trustees. They are supported by effective Kaiwhakahaere (Executive Management). Whaotapu also provides structure and support for Kainga Toi (Creative Operatives) who are artists, artisans, designers, and innovators - these include our rangatahi who help in a multitude of ways - Tena koutou katoa.

Trustees | Tohunga Toi Ake

Vern Rosieur

Cultural & Creative Arts Specialist / Trust Chairman

Vern is Tohunga Toi Ake for Ngati Manuhiri and Ngati Rehua.

Wikuki Kingi

Cultural & Creative Arts Specialist / Trust Treasurer

A Tohunga Toi Ake, design, arts, and carving specialist, Wikuki's tribal links include Ngai Tai, Tainui Waikato, Te Whanau a Apanui, and Kati Mamoe.

Ted Ngataki

Cultural & Creative Arts Specialist / Trust Deputy Chairman

A Tohunga Toi Ake and Master Carver, Ted is Ngati Tamaoho and Ngai Tai.

Puhi Tamihana (Thompson)

Cultural & Creative Arts Specialist / Trustee

A Tohunga Toi Ake and Master Carver, Puhi's tribal links include Ngati Paoa and Ngati Whanaunga.

Dan Te Whenua Walker

Cultural Development Executive | Trust Secretary

Ngati Ruanui, Ngati Kahungunu, Tainui, Te Arawa, Nga Ruahinerangi, Te Atiawa, Dan is a tech and IT executive and a Director of Maori Tourism.

Rewi Spraggon

Tohunga Toi Ake

Te Kawerau a Maki and Te Wai o Hua - Rewi is a Tohunga Toi Ake whose talents include carving, storytelling, cooking, painting and performing music.

Mihi atu ki o matou Tohunga Toi Ake

We warmly greet Nga Tohunga Toi Ake with whom we have worked and journeyed including Rewi Spraggon, Sunnah Thompson, Lawrence Makoare, Maiti Tamaariki, Arekatera (Katz) Maihi, and Alan Nopera. We greatly honour and respect Tohunga Toi Ake including Matua Fred Graham and Matua Selwyn Muru who have spent decades of their lives dedicated to bringing the Maori world to life through amazing artistic treasures across Aotearoa. Tena koutou katoa.

Executive Management

Tania Wolfgramm

Cultural Development Executive | Strategist

Whakatohea, Te Aupouri, Ngai Tai, Vava'u Tonga - Chief strategist, systems sculptor, designer, artist and storyteller, Tania enjoys illuminating the horizons of Te Ao Maori through supporting Whaotapu.

Kainga Toi / Artisans / Assistants

We acknowledge the Kainga Toi of Whaotapu; creative operatives, skilled artists and artisans, collaborative participants, designers, innovators who bring their considerable talent and energy to our collective. Kia ora koutou.

Kainga Toi

Tawhirimatea Rosieur

Kainga Toi | Arts Conservation

Ngati Manuhiri and Ngati Rehua, Tawhirimatea is an apprentice carver and works with Whaotapu on Toi Ora - Care and Conservation of Taonga Toi / Art Works

Darcy Wolfgramm-Russell

Kainga Toi / Project Administrator

A Kiwi with Te Aupouri, Whakatohea, and Tongan ancestry, Darcy provides project administration support and works with Whaotapu on Toi Ora - Care and Conservation of Taonga Toi / Artworks.

Rerekapua Rosieur

Kainga Toi | Arts Conservation

Ngati Manuhiri, Ngati Rehua - Rerekapua is an apprentice carver and works with Whaotapu on Toi Ora - Care and Conservation of Taonga Toi / Art Works

Marshall (Monty) Hepi

Kainga Toi | Arts Conservation

From Tuwharetoa, Monty is a team carver and is skilled in Toi Ora - Arts Care and Conservation.

Our Partners

Animation Research LTD Logo
Auckland Council Logo
Auckland War Memorial Museum Logo
Hakamana Logo
Panuku Development Auckland Logo

Find out more about us here