Student Profile

Jay Simmonds - Carving (Whakairo)

Jay Simmonds - Carving (Whakairo)

“There are not many female carvers in New Zealand because it is only in recent years that mainstream institutions have opened their doors to allow women to study the art of carving. I think it’s culturally important to both honour the traditional values and embrace the change. I understand that we are all on our own journey.”

“I feel blessed to continue my studies at NorthTec and I was able to transfer credits from Te Wananga o Aotearoa in Mangere, Auckland. I’ve always wanted to understand my Maori heritage more. I see that studying in the Art of Whakairo is helping and I love the practical creativity of this course. I’m from a Christian background so I have lots to learn about myself and my culture. I love that we start every morning with karakia and waiata together with the other strands of Maori Arts, and during the work-day we inspire each other with our different projects, patterns and designs.”

“Our tutor encourages us on our own creative path and his feedback on our projects is really comprehensive. I love learning about the history of the craft I’ve chosen including traditional knowledge, techniques, principles and values. I’m surprised to find myself able to write long essays and give presentations – something I haven’t done for a long time.”

“I’m enjoying living in Northland since moving here two years ago and the Maunga Kura Toi programme has helped me develop in so many positive ways.  My ultimate dream would be to work with other carvers on commissions, maybe in other countries, weaving together our Maori kaupapa with theirs. It’s important to practice our values through our art form in these times of change. I always maintain that if you’re true to yourself, your work is true.”

Iwi – Ngati Raukawa

Hapū – Ngati Huri