James grew up in Maketu on the East Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. His Mother is of Nga Puhi, Ngati Hine, from Pipiwai in Northland. Separating from his Pakeha Father, while pregnant with James, James’s Mother moved to Maketu, met and married his Stepfather (Dad) who is of Te Arawa, Ngati Makino.
At the age of 12 James learnt to Surf at Maketu & since then Surfing and the ocean in general have featured predominantly in James’s life. In 1991 James spent 2 years in prison where he learnt to carve taking his mind off the waves. James started out carving traditional Maori Art & Surf icons, creating many trophies for New Zealand Surf competitions.
Since then his Art has evolved into an eclectic mix of both. James’s ideas are greatly influenced by his strong affinity with the ocean & the forms & symbology borrowed from his Ancestors. James has been working solely as a carver since 2004 and stocks eleven Art Galleries in New Zealand. He is regularly invited to exhibit with others & his Art works are held in international private collections.