He kai kei aku ringa: the ability, adaptability, and artistic carvings of MaoriArt

When Shanon Povey of MaoriArt was made redundant from 22 years of being a storeman, he found himself at a turning point. Seizing opportunity from chance, he turned to his abilities in woodcarving and moko tattoo, with the goal of using his skills to become self-employed.

maoriart soc1 bw

maoriart taniwha blog

What do you make?
I make tattoo designs, Maori woodcarvings, resin necklaces, and paintings in oils, resin, acrylic and watercolours.

How did you get into your craft?
I have been sketching from childhood, so at 17 years of age I had sat in on some glass etching, then continued onto a one year woodcarving course.

Do you have any formal training?
I completed the one year course at Whaiora Marae. Everything else is self taught.

Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
Quality pencils, paper, watercolours, custom wood boards, chisels, a Dremel, various tools required for the task – and definitely music or some sort of background noise!

maoriart the cross blog

maoriart the axe head blog

Tell us about the techniques involved in producing one of your pieces:
First is the concept, understanding the job at hand, brain storming, research, organising, elbow grease, highlights, sealing, completion…

What inspires you? Improving my artwork!

Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Correctly organise your design, so as to prevent negative energy.

Hokia ki nga Maunga ki a purea koe e nga hau o Tawhirimatea…

Describe your creative process?
I am a battery running fast until the energy is thin, recharging on the music and people that surround me.

Describe your workspace?
I am able to have up to three people participating inside my area at the one sitting.


Five words that describe your mind:
Patient, fun, proud, imaginative, deep in thought…

Your favourite feedback?
“Thank you!” is enough – it usually comes with a smile.

What are you currently listening to?
Dogs by Pink Floyd, from the Animals album.

Recommend a album?
Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds.

Whats your favourite childhood book and why?
I was a comic book kid: The Grey Hulk, The Silver Surfer, 2000 AD… originally for the entertainment value, then with age the art work.


What are you currently reading?
The Reed Book of Maori Exploration: Stories of Voyage and Discovery (research on New Zealand histories). I try to find commonalities that confirm the history, this helps in my design process.

A favourite quote:
“Hokia ki nga Maunga ki a purea koe e nga hau o Tawhirimatea…”
(“Return to the mountains to be purified by the four winds…”).

I try to find commonalities that confirm the history, this helps in my design process.

Who is your hero/heroine? Why? My wife, she helps where she is able.

Tell us about your pets:
Had dogs, bless their personalities! Upgraded to children on their passing.



If you were a crafty superhero, what would your name and superpower be?
“Perfection Extreme” – extreme, extreme, extreme… My superpower: stressing and torturing myself with the fine detail!

What would your advice be for those starting out in a crafty business?
Find established artists on media to compare your artwork to, if they are doing well, and in your opinion your artwork is equal, judge your progress…

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
A patterned deck of playing cards, the attraction was the concept.


What’s in store for the rest of 2017?
To continue practising my tattoo art, painting… I was requested to do a Maori woodcarving module at the local high school. Also prep for the silly season!


See more of MaoriArt’s work here »


maoriart the whale tail blog

4 thoughts on “He kai kei aku ringa: the ability, adaptability, and artistic carvings of MaoriArt

  1. Thank you all for your comments of encouragement

    Kei roto taku manawa
    I te hiahia kia tutuki Kei roto tēnei momo mahi
    nō reira
    mātakitaki tēnei wahi
    mo maha kia haere.

    Inside my heart
    is the need to achieve in this type of work
    so watch this space for more to come

  2. Love your work Shanon. How cool that you were able to turn your past experience and Maori heritage into a business. May it keep you inspired and encourage others to tap into their creative side. Love your versatility in the different mediums you use too – it shows you are not afraid to try new ideas.

  3. He tino pai tō mahi! I love the clear and white resin versions of each piece – makes you see different details in the work. Keep doing what you do Shanon!

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