A practising artist for over twenty years, Rangi Kipa is now forging a reputation internationally with overseas collectors. Raised in Waitara, Taranaki, Rangi is motivated to continue customary Maori art traditions in contemporary contexts.
Trained as a carver at the Maraeroa Carving School in Porirua, he has mastered the making of taonga puoro (Maori musical instruments), whakairo (carving) and ta moko (Maori tattoo). Rangi is now exploring new media such as Corian®, a space-age heatproof and stainproof composite material. Corian is a Du Pont product that Rangi uses to carve hei tiki. It is mainly made up of various minerals and was invented by a New Zealander. It is more commonly used as a bench top material however due to its strength and lustre it is as good as a whales tooth for carving.
Rangi's career has included tutoring and lecturing in Maori Visual Arts at various polytechnic institutions and Massey University over the years. His pieces are held in museum collections within New Zealand and in private collections in America.
On 24 June 2009 New Zealand Post released the second in its annual Matariki stamp series, honouring the heitiki as an icon of Maori art – past and present. The $1.50 stamp shows the contemporary carving by Rangi Kipa.
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