Havelock North master carver Taka Walker is going to Hawaii this month to fulfil a pledge to friends and revisit a project they completed nearly 50 years ago.
Mr Walker and his wife were working for a church group in Hamilton in the early 1960s when he was asked to help create a set of carvings for a marae at the Polynesian Cultural Centre in Hawaii.
"We were working at Tuhikaramea Temple and we didn't have much time to do the job, we were working to a tight deadline.
"Our master carver was Hone Tekauru Taiapa, from the East Coast, and he and a few others went over to Hawaii to install the carvings when they were finished."
Mr Walker was the youngest of the group of seven carvers who worked on the project and is the only one still alive. In June last year, he brought together a group of new carvers, mostly from Hawke's Bay, to begin work on a new set of carvings destined for the centre in Hawaii. This time, as the master carver of the group, Mr Walker will be the one to travel to Hawaii to oversee the installation of the project.
"The name of the wharenui at the marae is Hawakinui and the carvings we have done depict the taniwha which helped guide our ancestors on various voyages over the Pacific.
"I hope people who get to see the new carvings admire them and love them as pieces which represent our country Aotearoa. They're also art pieces which also keep our genealogy alive."
A plan is being put in place to bring the original carvings in the marae back to Mr Walker's home in Havelock North, where he can restore and breath new life into them.
"Some are a bit damaged.
"When we have restored them, they will go back to the temple in Hamilton where they were originally carved and that's where they will stay for the rest of their time."
Mr Walker said he was excited about the chance to see the original carvings again and be the person in charge of installing the new ones.
"I was just a learner when I worked on those original carvings 50 years ago, I was the baby of the bunch and the learner compared to the rest of my colleagues who were experienced carvers.
"I would hope they (carvers of the original project) would love it.
"One of the reasons I wanted to do this was to remember them in the work so it's not only for myself but for them as well."
Mr Walker said he is likely to go to Hawaii at the end of the month. There will be a short ceremony on arrival to welcome the carvings on to the marae and a larger ceremony will be held after they are installed.