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.
Toi Taonga / Tohunga Toi Ake
Kotahitanga - Whakapapa / Whanaungatanga / Humarie
Manaakitanga - Whakatinana
Whakamana - Mauri / Mana
Rangatiratanga - Mana Motuhake
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.
Vern is Tohunga Toi Ake for Ngati Manuhiri and Ngati Rehua.
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.
A Tohunga Toi Ake and Master Carver, Ted is Ngati Tamaoho and Ngai Tai.
A Tohunga Toi Ake and Master Carver, Puhi's tribal links include Ngati Paoa and Ngati Whanaunga.
Ngati Ruanui, Ngati Kahungunu, Tainui, Te Arawa, Nga Ruahinerangi, Te Atiawa, Dan is a tech and IT executive and a Director of Maori Tourism.
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.
Whakatohea, Te Aupouri, Ngai Tai - A cultural psychologist, systems sculptor, strategist, designer and storyteller, Tania enjoys illuminating the horizons of Te Ao Maori through supporting Whaotapu.
Ngati Manuhiri, Ngati Rehua - Rerekapua is an apprentice carver and works with Whaotapu on Toi Ora - Care and Conservation of Taonga Toi / Art Works
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
Robert is a pounamu carver and artist.
From Tuwharetoa, Monty is a team carvers and is skilled in Toi Ora - Arts Care and Conservation.
With Ngai Tuhoe and Te Arawa ancestry, While Lee is a builder, he is also following in the footsteps of his grandfather, artist and carver Arnold Wilson.