Te Puia receives $7.6mil to safeguard future of toi Māori

By Jessica Tyson

Te Puia New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute is to receive $7.6mil from the Government to safeguard the future of toi Māori.

Minister for Maori Development Nanaia Mahuta says the funding is part of the Government’s Rebuilding Together Budget and will be invested over two years.

“Incorporating the Te Puia Tourism Centre and the Māori arts and crafts training centre, the institute has been part of the country’s Māori arts and tourism landscape for nearly 100 years and is expected to continue to play a vital role as Aotearoa recovers and rebuilds."

Mahuta says the institute’s continuity is vital, culturally and economically and the Government’s investment will bring relief in response to travel restrictions after COVID-19.

“The support will safeguard the future of toi Māori and ensure that our future carvers, weavers, waka exponents, and arts and crafts champions have a place to hone and perfect Māori arts for generations to come.”

Prior to COVID-19, around two out of every 10 visitors to Rotorua visited Te Puia.

“Further, there is no doubt the impacts of COVID-19 will have on the tourism and hospitality sector,” she says.

As a major local attraction, numerous other businesses and individuals are likely to benefit from Te Puia over the medium term, including accommodation and retail services, she says.

“I also have no doubt iwi partners will be working diligently to ensure that they continue to carry the business through this uncertain time.”

Te Puia is the only institute of its kind in the world. It was formed in 1926 and operates as a tourism venture with specialised education schools dedicated to Māori arts and crafts.

Mahuta says Te Puia has a history of innovation and creativity and is confident the institute will respond well to the challenges of the new environment.