Mokau abuzz hosting the Firstgas Bone Carving Symposium

Bone Carvings artist Ormsby2

This Easter, Mokau was abuzz as the largest gathering of bone carvers in the country came together for the Firstgas Bone Carving Symposium 2024. This year 63 carvers participated in New Zealand’s most dynamic and creative symposium.

Mike Brown, Event Organiser said, “We’re proud to host a truly national art event in Mokau village that helps to restore the mana of bone carving, encourages people to get involved and raises the skill level among carvers.

“Visitors are treated to an outstanding display of carvings, many of which are for sale, with the opportunity to purchase taonga from their favourite artists.”

World class carving expertise

Since the event started there have been six special guest carvers attend from New Zealand and overseas. This year Gareth McGhie, Ngāti Kahungunu, was the special guest carver and spent the weekend sharing his expertise to help build the skills of other carvers.

Supporting Mokau Community

Firstgas, part of Clarus, is well known for its transmission pipeline operations in the area and is a part of the Mokau community.

Paul Goodeve, Clarus CEO, said, “We are proud to support the carving symposium that helps encourage and inspire carvers.

“It’s also great for the community as it brings people to Mokau for the weekend so they can experience the event and what the area has to offer.”

Welcoming the carvers

This year’s event started with a pōwhiri to welcome the carvers at Maniaroa Marae.

Mike said, “the warmth of the welcome, the power of the carvings in the wharenui, and the spiritual depth of our hosts is the ideal foundation for the symposium. Right from the beginning we were reminded that carvings can have a ‘life force’ and can make us stronger as people.”

One of the exciting outcomes from the symposium was the establishment of regional carving groups in different parts of the country. This enables people to gather for one day carving sessions several times a year to maintain momentum between symposia. Find out more about the Firstgas Bone Carving Symposium here.

Firstgas work with many communities across the North Island and we look for ways to support local people, places and events. One way we do this is through our Community Fund. For more information about how to apply for funding visit -