Ross was born in Kurow, in New Zealand’s South Island. He earned a Diploma of Fine and Applied Arts from Otago Polytechnic in 1972 and had his first exhibition in 1975. In 1983, he became head of visual arts at Waiariki Polytechnic, Rotorua, and more recently he was named head of the Department of Art and Design Studies at the School of Design at Massey University in Wellington. In 1987, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand/Air New Zealand Travel Award with which to study fine arts in the United States.
Known primarily for his mixed-media sculptures, he has undertaken several significant public commissions, including the Te Ao Marama carving at the Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa and glass windows for both Ngai Tahu Development Corporation’s Te Waipounamu House in Christchurch and the Albany campus of Massey University. His work has been exhibited in many contemporary Māori art exhibitions, including the American tour of “Te Waka Toi: Contemporary Māori Art,” “Māori” at the British Museum in London (1988), “Te Puawai o Ngai Tahu” at the new Christchurch Art Gallery, “Kiwa-Pacific Connections” (2003) in Vancouver, Canada, and “Whenua-Born of the Land” (2004) in Wellington.
Excerpt from Manawa—Pacific Heartbeat, 2005.