Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has paid tribute to the legacy of master carver Cliff Whiting, who has passed away at the age of 81.
“Cliff Whiting was an exceptional New Zealander, a master carver who helped develop a new era of Maori arts, and a leader in the early days of Te Papa, our national museum,” Ms Barry says.
“His works, such as Te Marae at Te Papa, are widely recognised as masterpieces of contemporary Maori carving, fusing together modern artistic sensibility with a deep understanding and respect for the past.”
Mr Whiting’s contribution to the arts was recognised in 1998, when he became one of only 20 members of the Order of New Zealand.
As Kaihautu of Te Papa from 1995, he helped to cement bicultural processes based on the Treaty of Waitangi, working closely with Te Papa staff and including local iwi in decision making.
Mr Whiting was also a founding Member and former Chairman of the Council for Maori and South Pacific Arts (now known as Te Waka Toi) and a Member and Deputy Chair of the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council. He was a Member of the Maori Advisory Board for the Historic Places Trust of New Zealand for more than 15 years, advocating for conservation work on marae around New Zealand.