Growing up the son of a Māori carver, the arts have always played a large role in my life. Constantly surrounded by sculptures, paintings and the amazing landscape New Zealand has on offer, my siblings and I were often lost in our own imaginations. Many rainy days were spent with pen and paper, designing characters and stories for our own video games or comics.
Funnily enough, many years later, not much has changed. Where most people tend to forgo their childlike inspirations and start to seek ‘sensible’ career options, I’ve instead miraculously (and much to my delight) managed to stumble my way into the entertainment industry and continue doing just what I was doing from the start—playing ‘make believe’.
Professionally, I feel very blessed at this stage of my career, having had the opportunity to work with so many amazing people from different parts of the world. I initially started working for video game company Games Lab, based in Sydney, Australia, where I was able to hone my skills and grow as an artist. In 2014, my homeland was calling and I decided to head back to New Zealand. Here I found my break into the film industry, freelancing for Hollywood special effects studio, The Aaron Sims Company, until finding a home at Weta Workshop.
The images displayed on these pages have all been created for personal projects. Having a fairly multicultural family, the intricacies of cultural heritage have always been of great interest to me–especially that of myth, legend and history. These themes often influence my personal work and help form my stories.
‘Te Honunui’ is actually close to one of the first digital paintings I ever created. There is something about this piece that seems to stay with me. Perhaps I’m a chronic nitpicker, cursed never to be satisfied with my own results, but I find myself revisiting or entirely repainting it every few years. I’m sure this won’t be the last iteration; instead, it will evolve with me throughout my career.