Te Tapuwae o te Waka

The National Canoe School

About Te Tapuwae o te Waka

Ka hura tangata uta, te tiaki ki tangata tai ka hura tangata tai , te tiaki ki tangata uta.  

New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute's newest school located in Awanui, Northland  plays a vital role in preserving waka (canoe) building traditions and enhancing Māori cultural identity as people of the Pacific.

Waka tapu

The focus of the school is to perpetuate waka building.

Te Aurere

Course Information 

NZMACI is mandated to train Māori from iwi (tribes) across New Zealand. Applicants for this school must be over 18 years of age and of Māori descent.

A maximum of three ākonga (students) will be selected at any one time. Successful students will receive an NZMACI scholarship to cover living expenses. There are no course fees for this qualification.

This tohu (qualification) is for three years and is approximately 40 hours per week, 48 weeks of the year. 


Through the NZMACI Act 1963 (History) the Institute has the ability to award tohu to any person having special training in Māori arts, crafts or culture. The ability to independently recognise and confer qualifications remains a unique attribute of this organisation to this day.




For information on this course and how to apply, please contact info@nzmaci.com.  Download form here: 

Te Tapuwae o Te Waka Application Form 2019


Study Programme 

During their study, the school’s canoe builders have the opportunity to be involved in major kaupapa (initiatives)  on-site, throughout New Zealand and possibly overseas. The outcome is two-pronged – it fulfills NZMACI’s cultural perpetuation, protection and promotion mandate and exposes students to environments which help them see first-hand how knowledge, history, and ideas are manifested through material culture.


Students are taught:

  • Techniques and practices used in the building of waka
  • Rope work and lashing
  • Environmental practice
  • Water based skills in paddling and sailing small craft


Ka hura tangata uta, te tiaki ki tangata tai ka hura tangata tai , te tiaki ki tangata uta.