Whakarewarewa Village, Rotorua

From Te Ahi Kaa, 6:08 pm on 1 March 2015

John Waaka and Mahora Wiston at their offices at Whakarewarewa Village, Rotorua. Photo: RNZ/Te Ahi Kaa.

Brother and Sister John Waaka and Mahora Wiston remember the dilemma their father Kuru Waaka (1914 – 1996) faced when he was approached by Pakake Leonard to help establish the Whakarewarewa Village and the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute (NZMACI), Rotorua.

He had ten kids to consider and a decent job that he would have to give up.

After many debates at the dinner table with his wife, he took a risk, left his job and began to assisted Pakeke Leonard. Both men faced challenges in running the business that was famous for its guided tours.

Over time, NZMACI would operate as a separate entity to the Whakarewarewa Village, and be re-branded as Te Puia.

Justine Murray sits down with John Waaka and Mahora Wiston who give an account of their fathers work from the early 1960s.