Perhaps it’s a trick of the light that lends translucence to Tamaora’s work. Or maybe this glow is evidence of an ancient Maori belief that pounamu (New Zealand jade) lives and breathes.
The Rotorua-based carver, who learned his craft from renowned New Zealand artist Lewis Gardiner, regards the stone with a reverence and respect born of his Maori heritage.
“What drives me as a pounamu artist is knowing that everything I create is forever,” Tamaora says. “Just like diamonds but with a mauri – life force – that will carry our art forms into the future."
“It’s just a beautiful material. You have to be quite gentle with it, to know how to incorporate the colours and shades of the stone into the design of the finished taonga (treasure).”
Familial ties to the Te Arawa tribe deeply influence his designs but he has also exhibited overseas and studied the work of international carvers.
“Whether it’s the Chinese culture and jade traditions or the First Nations customs in Canada, I am really drawn to all indigenous art.”