He has carved for the Queen, the Sultan of Brunei and the Apec heads of state - but Tupari Te Whata's latest work is for the people of Northland.
Two pou pou (carved posts) by the master carver from Tautoro, south of Kaikohe, were unveiled in Paihia this week to lift the visibility of Maori culture and heritage in the Bay of Islands tourist town.
The carvings, each just under 2m high and displayed at the entrance to the Paihia i-Site, were commissioned by the Tai Tokerau Maori and Cultural Tourism Association with funding from the ASB Community Trust.
Association chairman and Culture North owner Kena Alexander of Okaihau said the four figures represented each domain in the Maori world - the spirit world, people, the sea and the forest.
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The purpose of the gift was to "highlight the footprint our ancestors have had in this area, and the future footprint Maori will have".
"These carvings represent our part in Paihia ... I hope my mokopuna, and their mokopuna, will be able to come here and find these carvings in a place of prominence for many years to come."
At a ceremony on the Paihia waterfront on Monday, Mr Alexander thanked the staff of the i-Site for accepting the carvings and the responsibility of taking care of them.
The pou pou are bolted on so they so can be moved if the i-Site shifts in the future.
Mr Alexander told a gathering of kuia, kaumatua and other dignitaries that Mr Te Whata's work was "as good as it gets".
"He's a humble man, and he will probably growl at me for saying this, but he has carved for the Queen, for the King of Brunei, for Apec, for the Canadian people. He's one of the master carvers of our land and we are lucky to have him."
The pou were blessed by the retired bishop of Tai Tokerau, Waiohau (Ben) Te Haara, with a mihi from kaumatua Wiremu Wiremu. Mr Te Whata gave an explanation of the carvings and said, in typically modest fashion, that they "took a while" to make. The totara wood was sourced from his farm at Tautoro. Previous works by Mr Te Whata include waka huia (treasure chests) and a 2m-long waka for the Queen.