Niki Nepia became a specialist pounamu carver in 2003.His work is defined by traditional art forms, and extends into domains that he finds satisfies contemporary sculpture and adornment. As well as being highly skilled in the design of traditional and stylized forms, Niki is an artist who is constantly pushing his technical ability by crafting carvings that are impressively complex, with his Manaia, and Hei-Tiki being prime examples. His designs are influenced by the natural surroundings of the Urewera Ranges, a forested area where Niki grew up. From a young age he incorporated aspects of nature and freeform design in all his work, being careful also to remain true to the spiritual side of his culture, and its art forms. This has created a unique, almost fluid aesthetic seen throughout all of Niki’s work today, which when paired with his drive to produce complex carvings, will see Niki soon become one of New Zealand’s foremost Jade artists.
Ko Tuhoe te iwi
Ko Maungapohatu te maunga
Ko Whakatane te awa
Ko Uwhiarae te marae
No Ngati te Paenga te Hapu
“I am of Tuhoe descent. I was raised in the heart of Tuhoe, being Ruatahuna (Te Kohanga o Tuhoe) where I spent most of my life. I am now based in Rotorua and I have been carving for the past four years. I specialise in Maori design but also enjoy carving both contemporary and jewellery designs.”
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