Bone carving is as old as human history itself and long ago evolved into more than just a way of fulfilling utilitarian purposes. Many cultures the world over have used it as an important means of expression, a practise which continues to this day. Travellers from Polynesia arriving sometime in the 13th century by Waka (canoe) were the first to settle Aotearoa (New Zealand). Amongst the cultural practises these indigenous peoples (Maori) brought with them was the art of bone carving. In traditional Maori culture, bone carvings themselves are treasures which in an age before power tools could take years to make. Handed down from generation to generation within tribes, traditional designs often tell a story inspired by nature and elements of Maori mythology. Nowadays, it is common to see New Zealanders of both Maori and non-Maori decent wearing bone carvings influenced by traditional Maori culture. This signifies an expression of pride in sharing attachment to the land and culture that defines New Zealand.
The studio was first established in the back of a small garage in 1996 by a local carver who wanted to share the art of bone carving by tutoring individual students to make their own carvings. It proved to be a popular activity amongst domestic and international tourists alike so in 1999 the studio moved into a larger building, at which point I joined the team part time. I began with material preparation and developed my skills and passion for bone carving from there. Over the next few years I started creating my own personal works and tutoring bone carving classes, before eventually taking over the business in 2005. The studio relocated again in 2014, moving into the current historic cottage right in Whitianga’s town centre. As such we here at Baycarving are proud to have offered people from all over the world the opportunity to create their own works of art for over 20 years and counting. My own work is also for sale here in the studio as well as in several exclusive galleries in Auckland, Tairua, Hamilton and Queens town.