Since the mid-1980s, Manos has been at the forefront of the Māori ceramic movement. He is co-founder of Nga Kaihanga Uku, the national Māori clayworkers’ organization, although his background is in woodcarving and sculpture. (He carved the meeting house at Matatina Marae, Waipoua Forest, on his tribal lands.) His clay works draw on customary art forms and on the Māori cosmological and creation narratives. In 1989, he travelled to the United States on a Fulbright grant to visit Native American potters. A reciprocal visit took place in 1991.
His work is held in the collections of the British Museum; the National Museum of Scotland; the Museum fur Volkerkunder, Berlin, and Te Papa Tongarewa/Museum of New Zealand. He was represented in “Te Waka Toi: Contemporary Māori Art,” which toured the United States (1992-94), and his work was exhibited in “Fusion: Tradition & Discovery” (1999) and “Kiwa-Pacific Connections” (2003) in Vancouver, Canada, “Taiawhio-Continuity and Change” (2002) and “Nga Toko Rima: Contemporary Clayworks” (2003-05) at Te Papa Tongarewa.
Excerpt from Manawa—Pacific Heartbeat, 2005.