Te Puia Master Carver honoured for 50 years of service

New Zealand Māori Arts & Crafts Institute Master have acknowledged Master Carver of the National Wood Carving School, Clive Fugill for 50 years of service to the institution.  Mr Fugil (Ngāi Te Rangi) was one school's very first students who studied under famous Master Carver John Taiapa.

Current and past students of the National Wood Carving School today paid tribute to Clive Fugill. But the humble master carver says it's just another day at the office.

“I remember Hone Taiapa who was our master at the time and he said ‘you come here to learn this art, to perpetuated and carry it on and for the future’ and that's the thing that has keep me here are those very words.”

Mr Fugill was part of the first intake of the National Wood Carving School in 1967. Not only are they celebrating his 50 years of service to the institute but also the 50 years since the first intake of students.

“If it had not of been for back in the time of Iremia Kapua teaching in that first school in 1926, the one that Apirana set up and teaching John Taiapa, Pene Taiapa and the other students of that time particular John passed that knowledge on to us.”

Te Puia is investing $14mil in an upgrade of the carving school's buildings and the CEO says the plan is to expand the school. 

“50 years since the first intake came onto the site is a significant achievement, I don't know if anyone back then would think that it would of lasted for 50 years but it has and not only lasted it thrive.”

Mr Fugill was gifted a carved wooden club by the institute. However, he says he is not retiring anytime soon.