When we visited Te Puia, we had a chance to visit the schools of Carving and Weaving. As the Māori did not have a written language until the 19th century, carvings were used to record and preserve the history and culture of their people. Ornate Māori carvings can be found on meeting houses, canoes, weapons and jewelry, with superior carvings seen as a sign of prestige. Māori carvings are a record of tribal affairs and pay deep respect to ancestors, history and the people for whom they are prepared – although they cannot be read or interpreted in a Western sense. The isolation from the rest of Polynesia means Māori wood carving differs significantly from other Pacific styles, although the basic patterns are believed to originate from their ancestral homeland of Hawaiki (Hawaii). The name ‘Te Rito’ is based on the baby shoot at the heart of the flax. Students are taught never to disturb the inner shoots when cutting flax as the baby along with its mother and father on each side is a family unit that should not be broken. Like the Carving School, Te Rito has been involved in a range of projects to develop cultural heritage assets for Māori.