Te Arawa, Ngāti Awa, Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau, Te Whānau a Āpanui, Ngāi Tahu
Lives in Rotorua
Lewis Gardiner began to work with pounamu as a student in Māori Design at Waiariki Polytechnic in the 1990s. Dedicating himself to the study of the hei tiki form, and taking inspiration from tiki seen in whare whakairo and the innovations of contemporary Māori artists, Lewis determined a set of design principes from which to develop large-scale pounamu sculptures. A prime example of this work stands on the apex of Tūhuru, the Ngāti Waewae wharenui at Arahura marae, and key pounamu site in Te Wai Pounamu.
Over thirty years of full time practice, Lewis has developed a distinctive and unique visual style for pounamu—never seen before—and was awarded the 2019 Manaaki Taonga Award by Te Māori Manaaki Taonga Trust for his demonstrated excellence in the continuity of he taonga tuku iho (ancestral treasures).