A Tauranga artist has completed his most physically challenging portrait from a 9m extension ladder precariously placed on a steep hill near Te Awamutu.
Graham Hoete, whose working name is Mr G, completed the portrait of a well-respected ancestor from Ngati Raukawa on Friday and said it was "a mission".
The bottom of the cliff face could only be accessed from a steep hill and Hoete had to dig a flat platform in the ground each time he moved the ladder as there was no way of getting a scissor lift to the site.
The cliff is on a farm owned by Brian Stevenson in Parawera near Te Awamutu and is between a pa site and a place where Maori warriors used to train. The portrait is on private land and cannot be viewed from the road.
The 38-year-old said he decided to spraypaint the portrait on a cliff to highlight the connection between Maori and the land.
"It was very unique, very challenging. There was one part there when I actually bought two extension poles and duct taped them together. I was on the base of it holding it and my wife was on the other end and she taped a spray can to it and taped down the nozzle so it was spraying. We had to synchronise it so as soon as she did that I had to flick it up and start painting it," Hoete said.
Most of the portrait took three days and Hoete plans to return and abseil down the cliff to add the moku to the forehead.
"I totally knew it was knew and unique. Whenever you are doing something big or different you are always going to get a reaction whether it be positive or negative. But the bottom line for me is I always do everything respectively through the right people." Hoete said.
The portrait is the fifth of 100 he is planning on doing in unique spots around New Zealand for a book he is compiling called Mr G 100 New Zealand Portraits and which will take several years to complete.
"It took three days and man it was a mission ... The terrain was so challenging."
Hoete returned to Tauranga at the end of last year after living in Sydney for five years.
In between creating the portraits, he has been commissioned to do a project for a large New Zealand retailer and has three projects lined up in China, Argentina and Miami.
Hoete, who is also know for his portraits of dogs, started off using oil paints before diversifying into spray painting 12 years ago.
He will do an official presentation of the portrait to the local iwi once it is completed and will then reveal the name of the ancestor on the cliff face.