Te Arawa, Ngāti Rangiwewehi
Hepi never expected to earn a living in the arts, but became a carver when he lost his legs in a truck accident. Having no intention of living off the state, he responded to an advertisement in the local paper in Rotorua for potential jade carvers. Hepi has now been carving for more than 30 years and is one of the leading jade carvers in New Zealand. His carving is in a contemporary style based on the gentle, sweeping curves of ancient Māori art. Over the years, his jade pieces have been presented publicly to many people, from prime ministers to sports celebrities, and as awards at institutions and schools. His work has been documented in numerous publications and included in museums and private collections all over the world. He participated in “Kiwa—Pacific Connections” (2003) in Vancouver, Canada.
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