How Maori Wood Carvings Are Made

Maori wood carving is a symbolic form of traditional Maori art which still enjoys wide popularity. Wood carving requires vision and experience, and much precision. It is still passed from master to trainee in traditional settings.

Creating art is challenging but rewarding. Between sessions, it is possible to relax and kick back by playing online casino games, for instance, on Riverbelle casino, where many thrilling games are available for all the tastes.

Carving is an art form that is closely bound to the history of New Zealand.


Traditional wood carving was made from trees available in New Zealand. It is crucial to choose the wood based on the project. For decorative carving, softwoods are usually preferred. These are trees that grow relatively quickly and are easier to manipulate. For weapons and transport, hardwood is more suitable. For instance, Kauri is used for works that require a light natural colour, and kahikatea is used to very delicate works due to its softness.


Traditionally metal tools were not available to the Maori. Traditional carving was made with greenstones, as it was a durable and hard material that allowed easy manipulation of wood. The Europeans first introduced metal chisels. This changed to a great degree how wood carving was done. Metal chisels permitted greater detail in forming the wood, and are more widely used today.


The wood is carved using the chisels and when necessary, hammer. The chisel is forced into the wood and used to extract pieces of different forms. The artist starts with a piece of wood and removes pieces to form two-dimensional or three-dimensional shapes on the surface.

The actual carving should be completed steadily and without hurry. It is important to work a section per time, and finish one part before moving to the next one.