Niki Nepia (Ngai Tuhoe), 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 free-form 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 to Nikis work, which when paired with his drive to produce complex carvings, will see Niki soon become one of New Zealand’s foremost jade artists.