Spread out along either side of SH1 is the small roadside settlement of TE HANA, 4km north of Wellsford. It’s your next chance to turn off towards the coast and a settlement that until recently most people have passed through without pause. This does Te Hana an injustice, as it is home to one of New Zealand’s most adventurous and spectacular wood carvers.
The Arts Factory
Te Hana is home to the The Arts Factory, where unique and iconic artist Kerry Strongman and his team carve breathtaking “jewellery for giants” – massive pieces of swamp kauri that are thousands of years old. The pieces are innovatively and experimentally carved (sometimes as interpretations of traditional Maori and/or other ancient peoples’ designs) and all are supersized to fill and enhance large spaces. Most of the pieces go to galleries and commissioners in New Zealand and abroad, but other, smaller pieces are on sale in the gallery shop. Best of all, you get to wander round the expansive studio, inside and out, and watch the works being created.