Maori craftsman makes his mark at Captain Cook Birthplace Museum

Senior curator at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Middlesbrough, Phil Philo, with Easter Island stone statues

Senior curator at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Middlesbrough, Phil Philo, with Easter Island stone statues

First published in News
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A TRADITIONAL Maori craftsman will be demonstrating his wood carving skills at the Captain Cook Birthplace Museum.

New Zealand Maori artist Wiremu (CORRECT) Puke will be carving a replica of a wooden panel collected by botanist Joseph Banks in 1769.

The demonstration from tomorrow (Tuesday) running until and Thursday, July 24, is the latest event hosted by the attraction in Middlesbrough to highlight the work of traditional artists and craftspeople from the places visited by Captain Cook in the 18th Century.

As a woodcarver, Mr Puke uses traditional greenstone chisels, or toki, to create his artwork in the same way that his ancestors carved at the time of Cook’s visits and before they had the use of iron and steel tools.

He will be demonstrating how he uses of these stone chisels as he puts the finishing touches to a replica carving in totara wood of a carving collected by Joseph Banks, botanist of Cook’s first visit to New Zealand in 1769.

Visitors will be able to see him at work tomorrow and Wednesday from 10am to noon and 1pm to 4pm and on Thursday from 10am to noon.

The completed carving will be presented to the museum at the end of his demonstrations on Thursday from 1pm to 3pm coinciding with a Maori family activity workshop, and it will become part of the permanent collections.

Senior curator, Phil Philo, said: “The prospect of his demonstration and talk is very exciting and I am sure that visitors will be fascinated by his demonstration of carving and colouring techniques that Cook would have observed nearly 250 years ago.

“The Museum will be honoured to receive this carving at the end of the workshop and it will take pride of place in the permanent displays.

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