As youngsters growing up we are always told to respect our elders, and as one matures in body and mind we begin to understand that this is for good reason. They say that you learn something new every day, so if you would take a little time to sit and listen to the old people, you will be enlightened by a wealth of knowledge, philosophy and history that simply comes with age. They possess a certain knowledge that can only be gained by living through the different eras and witnessing the many changes across all spectrums of life.
I remember sitting and listening to my grandfather and being fascinated at the vivid recounts of his past. He would describe in detail some of the trials of living back in the early days to which I think the younger generations of now could never imagine having to endure, given they’ve grown up in today’s modern and technological age. I felt privileged to have these stories imparted to me and consider these to be treasures that I will now cherish as you would a family heirloom.
Sadly this information that sits in the minds and memories of our forbears is often never recorded and is lost when they pass on. Therefore it is vital that we occasionally put our own lives aside and pay more attention to what our elders have to offer especially with regard to whakapapa (genealogy). To understand our family ties and connections, for Māori puts a lot of things into perspective and releases a sense of pride and identity that is truly empowering. To move forward into the future we must remember the past and build on the foundations set by those who have gone before us and the sacrifices they made in order to pave the way for us and the generations to come.
Todd attended Te Aute Boys College in Hawkes Bay from 1987 to 1991 and quickly excelled in art. In 1995, he completed the Diploma of Art, Craft and Māori Design at Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua; he majored in woodcarving/sculpture and graduated with honours. It was during this time that he met Roi Toia, who was teaching there. Roi, impressed with his talent, invited Todd to apprentice with him. They continue to work together, but Todd has forged his own style and direction in carving, with commissioned pieces residing in collections in the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. He participated in Kiwa: Pacific Connections (2003) in Vancouver, Canada.
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