Ngāti Pikiao, Te Arawa
Lives in Rotorua
Lyonel is the leading creator of whare whakairo in Aotearoa today. Trained by Hone Taiapa at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua in the 1970s, Lyonel graduated with an honours degree and was appointed the first Master Carver Assistant.
In 1984 Lyonel embarked on a full-time career and completed his first whare whakairo, Te Matapihi o te Rangi at Te Papa o te Aroha at Tokoroa in 1987, followed by Tangatarua Marae, Rotorua (1996), Ngākau Māhaki at Te Noho Kotahitanga Marae, Auckland (2009) and Pai Mārire at Evergreen State College, Washington State, United States of America (2019).
Lyonel also created Te Arawa waka taua for the 1990 Sesquicentennial Commemorations at Waitangi, and numerous large-scale public sculptures around Aotearoa, which articulate his sophisticated visual language in a wide variety of media.
Lyonel’s work makes an outstanding contribution to Māori communities, which has been acknowledged with an Arts Foundation Laureate in 2009, Honourary Doctorate of Philosophy (Education) in 2009, and the Te Tohu Toi Kē a Te Waka Toi Award 2018.