Nathan Whitehead – Sculptor

I was born in 1964 in Invercargill, Southland New Zealand.

I have the Best Parents, who allowed us to experiment artistically from before I can remember. They turned a wall in the house into a Blackboard, which we drew on all the time. My Eldest Brother John became a Professional Tatooist for 23 years, until he passed away suddenly.

We also were given a wall each in our bedroom and paints, I painted a Stag and some Hinds, when I was 13. Johns wall had Zebra and African animals. I did a lot of Water colors, Oils and Pastels throughout my school years.

I have studied privately with several different tutors in different mediums. My first tutor was my grandfather Wi Patene Mou Paru, known as Bill Mou, who was a leading Traditional Maori Carver, based in Gisborne, through the 1940’s – Early 1970’s when he passed away,

I 1st met Grandad when I was 8 years old in Gisborne 1972.

Nathan Whitehead
Nathan Whitehead

Although at the time I did not realize the lessons that were being taught, as most of the time I would just stand and watch him carve, all day long he would carve, until Grandma would switch the lights off and then back on after dark, when dinner was ready.

Grandad Mou influenced me towards carving with Chisels, his craftmanship and standard of work was very high, which is very evident and is on display within the Maori Marae & Meeting Houses that still stand today in such places as, Waitangi, Whangara, and Gisborne, Kaiti Marae to name a few. I Did my 1st wood carving 50 years ago at 8 years old with the help of my Father.

A lot of my sculptures and Paintings have just been made without any guidance, so over the decades I’ve just made stuff, and I learnt as I ‘have experimented.

Three other people who played a big part in my life of Art was Andy Conchie a Ceramic Mold maker who taught me the art of mold making for ceramic working molds, and Wikus Du’Pree a Tradesman foundryman and very good friend, who has really taught me the principals of Bronze Casting. Including building the components and equipment that make up a foundry with me and for me.. I owe these men gratitude and appreciation for being so giving of their time and teaching me their trade secrets so to speak.

I’ve also learnt over the years that the secret to working with a new or different material is learning its strengths and weaknesses, what you can and can’t do with it, and to really learn about it, speak to a person who works or has worked for a long time with that material, so I have spoken to many professionals and individuals about the ins and outs of certain materials. Picking their brains so to speak. Darren Wise of Hamilton a friend and Stainless Tradesman taught me the basic principals of working Stainless Steel, it was through Darren and Spending $ 10,000 on equipment for stainless that I started Stainless wall art.

So I have been blessed to be born in this wonderful country of New Zealand, and my Ethnicity is both Maori & European – Therefore I am Kiwi. – I am part of Both Worlds.. Im Proud of my Maori Heritage and my European Heritage..

 My Fathers employment took me on great adventures, 1st down in the deep South of the South Island, to seeing the mountains in our Southern ranges, to the hills of the East Cape. Sitting having lunch, watching and listening to the Sky larks singing and Crickets chirping.

I became a Shephard on Large King country Stations, and was able to experience that life style from the back of a horse, with my team of 6 working dogs, as I mustered sheep an cattle..

I worked on the High sea’s on a Long line Tuna Boat where I fell in Love with our Giant Albatross and the Grandness of the high sea, where I gained 1st hand experience with winter storms at sea.

I even worked on a Prawn Trawler for a time in the Northern parts of Australia, which land is full of beauty and wonder.

To working in a forestry gang, hooking up cables to logs on steep hill faces.

Hunting for Wild Deer and Wild pigs became a source of food.. and a bit of an obsession.

Whilst doing all this I was able to observe our country, our Native birds, our land, our Forests and our sea… fishing and diving is something I love as well, not just for food, but for the experience that is ours.

New Zealand, all of this has influenced my art very heavily…and makes me who I am today

Over the past 58 years, I have worked with many different mediums, such as Pen, Pencil sketching including Portraiture, Oil paints, Water-colour paints, Pastels, Bone and Shell Carving, Wood Carving with Chisels and Chainsaw, Greenstone Carving, Lime Stone Carving, Clay Sculpture, Ceramic Sculpture with working Mould making and Slip Casting, Fibre Glass sculpture, Copper Sculpture Fabrication, Stainless Steel Wildlife Wall Art, Pewter and Zinc Souvenirs, Centrifugal Spin Casting, and Bronze Lost Wax Casting and Manufacture. Sand Casting Aluminium and Bronze. 

My focus now is to put all of my years of Sculptural and Metal Casting into practice in an effort to produce an even better quality sculpture than before. I also have some different series of Sculptures I am working on producing that will last for generations

The Year is 2022, It would be nice to Sculpt another 20 Years without all the trauma and interruption of the last 20.. Here goes !!! Thank you , from Nathan Whitehead, Sculptor

Scroll to Top