I am Pākehā. I am the descendant of early European settlers in New Zealand.
My ancestors rest in the land six generations deep. They share that land with the Tangata Whenua, the people who founded Aotearoa almost a thousand years ago. I was born of this land. And my art reflects my pride. I am Pākehā. I pretend to be nothing else.
I was born and grew up in the Hutt Valley of Wellington. My art reflects the love of a culture I've been surrounded by my entire life. Through family, friends, neighbours, and teachers, I was encouraged to follow a journey of discovery and connection, a journey now expressed through my work.
I've been a practicing carver for many years and I'm one of New Zealand’s most recognisable and respected bone carvers. Through my learnings about all elements related to whakairo, I use myths and philosophies around the art, and the Māori culture in general, to help influence and shape my entire art practice. It demonstrates my own unique path, although at the same time recognising how we all connect together. Everyone. And everything.
As an artist, I've been warmly accepted by Māori, who have ultimately become my biggest advocates. Even though my paintings reflect a Pākehā exploring the concepts and traditions of a beautiful, unique culture, my work resonates with people globally.
My carvings have been on public display at various museums in New Zealand, including Te Papa, Auckland, and Rotorua. Today, most of my carvings are commissioned privately by Māori for family taonga, a process that I believe I am truly blessed to be part of. My paintings and carvings can be found in private collections in New Zealand, Australia, Europe, and North America.
Te Arawa people of Rotorua have a proverb, ‘In this land, past, present and future move as one’. These words have held a powerful influence on my work, and along my journey into Māori art, I soon better understood the energy and power that lies within these words.
Looking upon the land as a living entity, I’ve embraced the spiritual aspect of Māori art that is the foundation of the integrity deeply entrenched in this wonderful culture. With six generations of my own ancestors now buried in the land of Aotearoa, I recognised the spiritual connection I have to Tangata Whenua, the original people of New Zealand, through the land. This realisation lies at the core of my painting practice.
Whakairo, the ancient practice of Māori carving, brings together small elements to tell a story that usually represents Gods or past ancestors. As these elements are repeated and layered over the substrate, it brings movement and animation to the carving, essentially creating life. My veil of dots have been designed to do the same thing. As an overall pattern they represent the topography of New Zealand. From winding rivers to rolling hills and mountain tops. Each dot reflecting an element from the natural landscape. The veil can also be seen as energy - permeating and influencing our existence as we walk upon the earth that contains the spirits of all those that have walked before us.
I lay this veil over my paintings in an attempt to bring an aesthetic motion that animates, engages and energises the subject, incorporating certain elements so that they are working together and compliment each other. This collaborates our intrinsic connection to the land and reinforces the spiritual essence that sees it as an eternal life source, and connects not only every person, but every thing.
Shows & Awards
2022 - FINALIST: Parkin Drawing Prize - NZ.
2022 - FINALIST: National Contemporary Art Award - NZ.
2022 - FINALIST: Adam Portraiture Prize - NZ.
2021 - FINALIST: Parkin Drawing Prize (Winner People's Choice & Highly Commended) - NZ.
2020 - FINALIST: The Wallace Art Awards - NZ.
2020 - FINALIST: Adam Portraiture Prize (3rd Place People's Choice)- NZ.
2018 - FINALIST: Adam Portraiture Prize (Runner Up People's Choice) - NZ.
2016 - FINALIST: Calleen National Art Prize - Aus.
2022 - SOMEWHERE IN-BETWEEN: Boyd-Dunlop Gallery, Napier, NZ.
2019 - RESIDENCY: ArtBay Gallery, Queenstown, NZ.
2016 - DEEPER EARTH: Toi o Tahuna, Queenstown, NZ.
2015 - FROM THE LAND: Kura Gallery, Wellington, NZ.
2022 - PERSPECTIVE: Exhibitions Gallery of Fine Art, Wellington, NZ.
2018 - THE BIG SHOW: ArtBay Gallery, Queenstown, NZ.
2016 - SUMMER SHOW: Toi o Tahuna, Queenstown, NZ.
2015 - AIR NZ AMERICA: Anya Vitali, New York, USA.
2015 - SYDNEY CONTEMPORARY: Carriageworks, Sydney, Australia.
2010 - AOTEAROA: fhe Gallery, Auckland, NZ.
2010 - HEI: Iwi Art, Wellington, NZ.