Bonecarving with a Maori Artisan

Authentic, creative, personal and very special

A Maori artisan bone carver living his dream

Jim Taranaki is happy doing what he loves every day and sharing his art with those who come to see him in his workshop. Jim takes pieces of cow leg bones and turns them into the pendants worn around countless necks here in the Far North. His work is admired and worn by many and when you knock on Jim’s door he is happy to share his display of beautifully carved bone that look like ivory.

“You have to boil the bones for a long time, three different times, and then add washing powder and boil again before the bone will turn the bright white colour.  But you still don’t know what they are like inside!”.

Jim started carving about 18 years ago with just a nail and a little razor before discovering a Dremel tool.  Now his beautiful, original, authentic Maori hand-made carvings are sold in many high profile places and we are privileged to always have a small range at Waipoua Lodge.

Jim will tell you that as you wear your carving, it will absorb the oil on your body and after a while it will take on your particular colour.  “When a man or woman hands this down to a son or daughter, it’s a way of remembering, since that person’s oil will rub off on the new wearer.”

Each piece Jim makes is different and may have a shape which already has a meaning like the “Manaia” (Guardian) which is to look after you, or the Fish  Hook which will help you find direction in your life.  Other more contemporary pieces are open to individual interpretation as different people see different things and meanings.

Learn the ancient Maori art of Bone Carving

If buying a piece of  Jim’s work is not enough for you and you would like to actually spend time with him and create your own personal and special carving then this can easily be arranged.  Jim offers individuals the opportunity to work in his studio either creating something from the raw material or finishing off a pre-cut carving.  Jim really loves teaching someone who thought they could not do it and who then creates something beautiful with their own hands. “That’s the best thing,” he says

As you work you can look out of the window into the blue of the Hokianga Harbour – a truly inspiring backdrop – and then you will understand why this is the only place for an inspired, creative and very spiritual Maori artist, like Jim, to live and work.

The cost is $60.00 per day per person (including lunch) and with no time limit to either create your own piece or finish something Jim has pre-cut.  The price includes the bone, wax cord and use of all tools.

Bookings are essential and preparing ideas for your design before arrival is recommended. Please indicate on your accommodation booking form if you would like us to book this activity for you.

If you would like to contact Jim direct, please email or alternatively call him on (09) 4058061.