Te Putea waka model
This model waka called Te Putea (The Gift) was presented to the Trustees of the Waikato Savings Bank in 1972 by Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu. It was gifted in appreciation of the Trustees assistance in the construction of the waka Taheretikitiki II, which was completed in August 1972. Although it is likely that a number of carvers worked directly on Te Putea, it is acknowledged that the design and construction would have been carried out under the supervision of master carver Piri Poutapu.
Wiremu Te Ranga Poutapu (1905–1975), known as Piri (Bill) was from Maungatautari, Waikato and of Ngati Koroki descent. As a follower of Te Puea Herangi, Poutapu was encouraged to make the most of his talents and utilised his skills as a carpenter on numerous carving projects. In 1929 Te Puea sent him to attend the School of Maori Arts at Ohinemutu, Rotorua where he excelled under the tutorage of Eramiha Kapua. He later returned to Ngaruawahia where he began his own school for Waikato carvers. One of the projects undertaken by the School was the building of King Koroki’s house, Turongo, opened in 1938.
Poutapu worked on five major waka during his time at Turangawaewae – Aotea, Takitimu, Taheretikitiki II, the Ngapuhi waka Ngatokimatawhaorua, and Te Winika, which is now on permanent display in the Te Winika Gallery, Waikato Museum.
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