6 Reasons Sculptors Love New Zealand

Maori Art, Riff Raff, Stone, Carrots, Carving

Read about just six of the many reasons sculptors love New Zealand

There are fantastic artists working all across this beautiful country. We love visiting and getting to experience their landscape and to see the many galleries and studios. It is possible to find excellent traditional Maori art–from historic drawings and carvings to those carved today, along side contemporary sculpture that rivals that produced anywhere else in the world. Then, there is the uniquely Kiwi art experiences.


Riff Raff sculptureFew people realize that Hamilton, New Zealand is the birthplace of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

At 206 Victoria St, a cast-bronze sculpture portrays hometown boy and Rocky Horror creator, Richard O’Brien, as the character Riff Raff. It stands on the site of the old Embassy Theatre, Hamilton’s “Late Night Double Feature Picture Show”. Everybody mocks Hamilton for being dull, but this proves that it isn’t.

The Riff Raff sculpture was unveiled on November 26, 2004. At midnight, of course.








In a nod to the produce grown in the region, a carrot topping over 22 feet tall stands at the entrance to the town of Ohakune.

Big Carrot













Whether this is great art or not may be up to debate. It has become a symbol of the Carrot Capital, and tourists around the world take a snap.


Although “rockart” this is about ancient drawings that are found on the New Zealand stones. In addition to the drawings the centre also offers great information about traditional carvings done by the Maori of the past, and of Maori artists of today.

There’s possibly no more meaningful and authentic experience of New Zealand Maori culture than a visit to Te Ana in Timaru, home of the largest collection of Maori rock drawings in the world.


If you are a carver, you will love walking around Oamuru. The craftsmen of the 19th century created this white town by the sea, and even today there is a nearby quarry and lots of artisans using the stone to create both architecture and art.

The exquisitely beautiful buildings are made from the local white limestone and because this is New Zealand there’s also Steampunk HQ, a quirky science-fiction take on 19th century technology featuring retro-futuristic art and immersive light and sound experiences.


Maori Rock CarvingsThe rock carvings are only accessible by water. You can kayak out or take a sailing ship. Very impressive, the carvings are over 30 feet high.

The carvings may look like the remains of an ancient Maori village but were in fact created in the late 70s by master carver Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell and Jonathan Randell as a gift to Taupo.

As if the drop-dead scenery, massive Kauri trees, and wildlife isn’t enough, consider visiting New Zealand for many art experiences. Sample a slice of the unique Kiwi artistic experiences and have an adventure that will fuel you sculpture for a lifetime.







If you are interested in the beautiful green New Zealand jade (and what sculptor isn’t), then be sure to head to Hokitika, arguably the pounamu center of the country because the river still makes regular deposits of the green stone.

Valued by the Maori for both its beauty and strength, pounamu, also called greenstone, made this part of the country famous and wealthy long before gold was discovered.

Pounamu was prized for its strength, durability and beauty and used for weapons, tools and personal ornaments – it also denoted great status.

Maori also carved whale bone. Today the collecting of whale bone is highly regulated and restricted. Many of the contemporary bone carvings are actually created from cow bones, whether traditional in design or not.

Many towns in New Zealand have artists who offer carving workshops. From Hokitika to Whitianga, if you are interested you can not only purchase art created by top notch Kiwi artists, you can learn some of their skills and create your own master piece.

So if the drop-dead scenery isn’t enough to inspire you, soak in some of the Maori culture and the unique contemporary Kiwi spirit.

Quotes are from an original article by John Corbett, News.com.au which includes more than unique sculpture spots.

Riff Raff sculpture photo by Nick Servian from http://www.riffraffstatue.org

Carrot sculpture photo by Alamy

Maori Rock Carvings Photo by Chris McLennan