Monumental Ancestor: Wētā Workshop Unveils New Zealand's Largest Masterpiece

09 November 2023
Weta Workshop
Descendants of the Poutini Ngāi Tahu Warrior Chief, Tūhuru, have travelled to Wētā Workshop in Wellington to bless the first-ever hyper-realistic representation of their ancestor, as part of the eagerly awaited tourism experience, the Pounamu Pathway.

The Pounamu Pathway will consist of four interconnected experience centres — Māwhera (Greymouth), Awarua (Haast), Kawatiri (Westport) and Hokitika — each serving as a gateway to captivating and emotive visitor experiences.

Visitors will encounter the sheer grandeur of the 2.4:1 scale hyper-realistic figure of Tūhuru, at the Māwhera centre, set to open in December 2023.

The breathtaking representation of the early West Coast chief has evolved from a unique collaboration between Poutini Ngāi Tahu and Wētā Workshop. Uri (descendants) of Tūhuru have been pivotal in the creation of the intricately detailed sculpture, from designing the tā moko (traditional tattoo) to crafting the accessories including the pounamu hei tiki (pendant worn around the neck), mere (weapon) and kāpeu (earring).

"What an honour it has been to work with Poutini Ngāi Tahu to uphold the mana of their ancestor and experience the heartfelt emotion today, as his descendants gathered to bless him for his journey home to Māwhera. Our team at Wētā Workshop are extremely proud to be a part of this incredible project," said Rehua Wilson, Design Lead, Wētā Workshop.

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