Ngaraiti Smith

Ngati Kuia, Nga Puhi, Waikato Tainui, Hauraki Tanui, Te Arawa. Ngaraiti Smith

He was first introduced to the world of whakairo at the age of 17 though a carving programme run through Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, which was facilitated by now longtime friend and mentor Korotangi Kapa-Kingi.

Further tutelage was privately sought and eventually found under the korowai of the Hihiaua Cultural Centre and its Tohunga Whakairo, Te Warihi Hetaraka, where he is an active practitioner to this day.

He is now focused on sharing what he has managed to accumulate over the years of his practice with others in order to ensure that the crafts that he’s dedicated his life to are carried on to the next generation and that their integrity and safety are ensured.

“If our Tikaanga and our Whakapapa are the lens in which the ethereal becomes visible, then Whakairo; and therefore by extension – Toi Māori is the conduit and the vessel in which it becomes tangible to the human hand and felt by the human heart…” – Ngāraiti

He expresses that it is only because of others, his mentors, his friends and his family that continually support him and the almighty hand of the maker that he is ultimately able to do what he does.

Ko te whakairo he whakapapa
Ko te whakapapa he tauira mapuna
Ko te ahurea Māori he oranga māku.

You can find Ngaraiti’s mahi on Instagram @tearamohoao and facebook @tearamohoao