Retirement of Jim Schuster
February 29, 2024 | Stories
Jim Schuster at Matangireia

This is a story from our monthly newsletter, Heritage this Month.

Niki Partsch  

Jim Schuster has made a significant contribution to the care and conservation of marae taonga during his 20 years with Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. 

Jim’s vast repository of knowledge and hands-on expertise in all things related to marae conservation is further enhanced by his willingness and ability to pass on his skills and to inspire confidence in others. A schoolteacher for almost 30 years, Jim brought a lifetime of patience and integrity into his role within our Māori Built Heritage Team. 

Descended from a long line of toi Māori practitioners, well-known for their creativity and expertise, Jim’s mum Emily Schuster was a master weaver, and his great-great grandfather Tene Waitere, a master carver. 

Jim Schuster at Matangireia
Jim Schuster working on the Niu restoration project at Hīrangi Marae

Some of the many marae that Jim has advised and worked on over the years have carvings that were created or collaborated on by Tene Waitere. Jim has even used some of his great-great grandfather’s chisels when undertaking restoration work around the country. He is always careful, when working on marae conservation projects, to leave the original artists' works as undisturbed as possible and he works closely in partnership with whānau and marae communities. Jim’s skills and presence have been in high demand for the duration of his time with Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga. 

Ellen Andersen, Kaiwhakahaere Tautiaki Taonga me Kaupapa Māori says, “I have heard Jim describe his expertise as a gift from his tūpuna that he now has the privilege of being able to hand on to new generations, and it’s been a real gift to learn from him in the 15 years I have worked with him.”   

With his long-held dream of retirement finally come to fruition, Jim and his wife Cathy, who is also a highly skilled weaver, will continue to practise their arts but with, “a lot more time for fishing and gardening,” says Jim. 

Jim will be greatly missed amongst our staff and throughout our offices nationwide, and we wish him well for his retirement years. 

Marae Built Heritage
Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
Find out how we assist whānau, hapū, iwi and marae to preserve taonga through the Māori Built Heritage Programme.
Schuster, Jim
Partsch, Niki (author)

Niki Partsch | Kaitohutohu Whanake - Māori Heritage Advisor
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