Max Deutschle's entry in the 2012 Fieldays No 8 Wire National Art Award has won him $4000 and an invitation to create more sculptures.
He's an honours student in computer graphic design at Whanganui UCOL and works as an artist in Wanganui.
His entry The Hollow Tiki came top in the art award, which is co-ordinated by Waikato Museum and held at the ArtsPost Galleries in Hamilton.
Deutschle said the tiki sculpture was about the loss of tradition and culture.
"Wire is a medium that in itself is symbolic of colonisation, the ownership and splitting of land. This tiki is a shell, empty and hollow. It is symbolic of a loss of value and meaning," Deutschle said.
He was delighted with his win, and with invitations from galleries to create more sculpture.
The award judge was Jeff Thomson, a corrugated iron sculptor since 1985. He liked Deutschle's rugged, yet, precise construction.
"I had a gut reaction when I first viewed this entry and that feeling never went away. It's a very linear piece. It appears as a line drawing in space yet it retains all the qualities of rusted old No 8 wire used on the farm," he said.
The works of finalists will be displayed at ArtsPost Galleries until July 16.