Gordon Toi

Nga Puhi, Ngati Korokoro, Ngati Wharara

House of Natives

Gordon Toi is one of New Zealand’s prolific multi media artists. He was trained as a traditional carver in the early 80’s and in later years expanded into other media of Maori art, such as ta moko (skin tattooing), painting, and stone sculpture. His philosophy and processes have continuously remained true to his teachings so as to preserve the integrity and mana (power) of his culture in his artistic forms.

Gordon grew up in Otara, South Auckland. He attended Hillary College where he was taken under the guidance of Henare Mahanga who introduced Gordon to the art of Whakairo (Maori wood carving). Upon leaving school in 1979, he entered the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute in Rotorua, the foremost carving school of New Zealand with the support of his family.

In 1983, Gordon was awarded the Sir Henry Kelliher Student of Honour Award for the 12th intake. The education and training Gordon received at the Institute culminated in Gordon achieving certification in carving, adzing, tukutuku panelling and kowhaiwhai painting.