Born in the King country of Irish, Scottish, European, and Māori heritage, Kerry Strongman was a master carver and sculptor. He was best known for his mega-size pieces made from 45,000-year-old swamp Kauri. ‘Tanekaha’ was hisMāori name. ‘Kaha’ meaning strong; ‘Tane’ meaning man or God.
Strongman was taught to carve at the age of four by his grandfather. His designs typically used traditional forms ofMāori carving, including mythological tales and ancient symbols such as the Taniwha, the Koru, the Hei matau (fish hook), and Hei-tiki
Another aspect of Kerry Strongman’s work was scale. Most of his impeccable pieces ranged from seven to twelve feet tall. Because of this, Strongman coined the term, “Jewelry for Giants”, to describe his work. He frequently used clear and amber colored resin in voids, often embedded with objects such as shells, minerals, and Kauri gum.
Kerry Strongman’s lifelong love of life and people journeyed him to many corners of the globe. He worked extensively with different indigenous cultures to enable and empower them to retain their identity and spiritual beliefs. Until Strongman began his monumental sculptures, most of the swamp Kauri root systems (25,000 to 45,000 years old) were burnt and used as firewood at best. As a man of tradition, Strongman strived to bring forth the story that each sculpture had to tell. He felt the truth had to be released from this ancient treasure, and, therefore, he created work that combined the best of the old with the new.