STUDENTS worked around the clock as part of a 24-hour Maori carving challenge at Wairoa College yesterday.
From 5pm Thursday to 5pm yesterday, 12 students from Gisborne Boys’ High School and Wairoa College lived, breathed and practised whakairo (Maori carving).
The aim of the challenge was to complete six carved pou (wall figures) for the Wairoa College meeting house, Te Aka Matua.
Six teams of four were selected, with two boys from each school for the challenge, and over the 24 hours only one student at a time could break from the project to rest or eat.
Wairoa College art teacher Trevor Galvan said every part of the project, from consultation with elders on appropriate ancestors to be represented in Te Aka Matua, to research, design and carving, came from the students.
Each pou represented an ancestor from a different part of the district . . . Rongomaiwahine, Te Huki, Hine Te Orangi, Haumapuhia, Te Tahinga, and Tapuwae and Te Maha.
“The interpretation of the ancestors’ stories is totally the students’ from their own research at every stage of the process,” said Mr Galvan.
They planned to present the pou back to the school at the conclusion of the project or when completed if it was not quite finished after 24 hours.
Wairoa College is in its second year of implementing whakairo into its learning programme, based on Gisborne teacher Craig Callaghan’s model he has taught at Boys’ High for the past decade.
“Craig also came up with the idea of having a carving challenge to produce six pou which will be donated to the Wairoa College wharenui,” said Mr Galvan.
Wairoa College principal Brian Simpson said students had really engaged with this course, in its second year at the college, which added a cultural element to the school’s learning.
He was keen to have it embedded permanently into the Wairoa College learning programme.
“We’re delighted to have carving as a learning option in the school.
“It has added a new cultural dimension of learning for a number of our senior boys and we’re really excited about the potential for it,” Mr Simpson said.
The school was also extremely grateful to Mr Callaghan and the Boys’ High students helping out with this project, an excellent example of inter-school co-operation, Mr Simpson said.