Matt is a fourth generation carver who grew up in Gisborne, where his father was a traditional Maori carver and his great grandfather was a Tohunga Whakairo (Master Carver).
Matt began carving when he moved to Wellington and completed the National Certificate in Carving (whakairo rakau) under the guidance of master carver, Rangi Hetet. Matt remained and worked at the Hetet Studios for a further two years and continued to be tutored by Sam Hauwaho.
Matt has continued his passion for carving and has completed a three-year scholarship at the ‘New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute’. Matt’s work can be found in both local and international collections.
“I think our ancestors were masters at their craft and have left us a great foundation to take forward” – Matt Smiler