Page last updated at 23:23 GMT, Thursday, 22 October 2009 00:23 UK

Canoe project for tattooed Maori

George Nuku
George Nuku will lead a two-day series of Maori carving workshops

A Maori artist has set up a studio at the National Museums Scotland Collection Centre to restore a Maori war canoe known as a waka.

George Nuku's canoe will be one of the many exhibits in the renovated Royal Museum section of the National Museum of Scotland when completed in 2011.

George will also lead a series of carving workshops during his stay.

There he will demonstrate his carving techniques and teach students about his artwork and cultural traditions.

A carver and sculptor, he is the first contemporary Maori to have the full Ta moko face and body tattoos.

George said the whole experience means a lot to him.

He said: "It kind of brings something to my family and my community and it allows in the future that other people will come and want to to investigate what I've done in times to come, my descendents maybe."

George Nuku at work
The canoe is thought to be a smaller replica of a war canoe

The canoe is thought to date from the early 19th century and to have belonged to Sir Thomas Brisbane who was Governor of New South Wales in Australia and gave his name to the capital of Queensland.

It is believed he may have brought it back to Scotland as a souvenir.

The canoe is one of the only examples of its type in existence and is possibly a smaller replica of a large war canoe used by Maoris during battle.

It has been constructed from the remains of an older, larger Maori canoe that pre-dates the 1822 date of this canoe.

The canoe has never been on display but has been kept in storage at the museum.

Many parts of the canoe are missing and George is using a mix of traditional Maori carvings and more contemporary styles to show how the canoe might have looked as well as be a showcase for contemporary Maori craftsmanship.

There is also a Scottish twist to the design with a thistle being added to the stern of the canoe.



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