Specialist pounamu (jade) carver, Niki Nepia, is famed for both his traditional art forms and contemporary work. The highly skilled artist has studied under various Chinese master carvers and highly respected Jade carvers in New Zealand. Constantly pushing his creativity and technical ability, Niki produces work that is innovative, unique and impressively complex.
From a young age, Niki incorporated aspects of nature and free-form design in his work, which remains true to the spiritual side of his culture and its art forms. He is a descendant of "Nga Tamariki o Te Kohu" (Children of the mist); many of his designs are influenced by the natural surroundings of the Urewera Ranges, in the heart of the North Island, where he grew up. He is also affiliates to Ngati Porou, Ngati Manawa and Ngati Whare.
He can be seen at work in his studio in Eat Streat, Rotorua. The gallery offers a range of high-end gold and silver jewellery and adornment, traditional pendants, carvings and sculptures produced by Niki and other highly experienced New Zealand artists. New designs feature each month and orders are taken for custom-designed product. Dedicated to quality, Puawai Jade is locally owned and takes its name from Niki's late mother Puawai, which means “blossom”.
When he is not in his workshop, he enjoys spending his time supporting his children with their sports or being in the bush hunting and gathering kai.