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My Pepeha… Bino

Ko Tainui toku Waka
Ko Whitireia toku Maunga
Ko Raukawakawa toku Moana
Ko Ngati Toa Rangatira toku Iwi
Ko Hongoeka toku Marae
Ko Hekemairaro toku Whare Tupuna
Ko Te Rauparaha toku Rangatira
Ko Bino Smith Ahau

Mobster turned Artist – story by Tony Cutting

Already an accomplished artist I know it was no coincidence Bino scored a job working on Lord of the Rings, followed by working on Peter Jackson’s next big movie ‘King Kong’. He followed on helping Peter out after this for a few years working on his estate in Masterton, helping recreate the sets and building what can only be described as a phenomenal playground.

Bino Smith the artist carves and sells precious pounamu, and limestone as well as creates beautiful ornamental surfboards. His talent is not limited to carving as he creates superb pencil drawings with a future plan to create a unique series of adult colouring books.

A long term goal is to take up public speaking to help inspire people (possibly troubled teenagers) who may feel they don’t have what it takes to chase their dreams. With his life experience I would certainly agree he has the right presence and attitude, along with one of the most incredible life stories to share.

It’s rather an unexpected journey – from being “patched up” at 15 to painting the walls of Minas Tirith, but Bino still thinks he’s a cliché.

“The irony is, I’m getting into motivating and inspiring people and sometimes I struggle to see what I am worth.” I explain to him this is natural we all doubt ourselves at times, but few people have a real life experiences like his that really demonstrate you can make it from whatever background, or position you are in.

Bino explains “I always thought I was another ex-gang member trying to do good, there’s literally 1000s of us.”

“My goal now is to show, not just Maori, show troubled youth, unemployed, anyone that feels like they can’t achieve something – that it’s achievable. I can do it.”

As well as starting on his adult colouring in book, Bino has just completed a beautiful carved surfboard for Kiwi Rugby league star Isaac Luke.

Above Left: Some initial drawings that maybe used for his first colouring book.

Right: A happy Isaac Luke with his custom Bino surfboard featuring his league whakapapa – a gift from his wife.

Well cousin I wish all the best for all your endeavours, keep dreaming and working on your goals the world is a greater place with you creating your wonderful art in it.

Originally published on ‘The Kumara Vine’, click here to read there.