What are your influences?

I’m often asked this by students, and sometimes I explain that one of the biggest is that was brought up in a very rural environment. Animals of all descriptions, both wild, and domesticated were part of my everyday life.

This is a photo taken at Taheke, in the Hokianga, where some of my most formative years were spent. This is my father with our dog Whisky, and one of our horses, I’m not sure which one, perhaps Ginger, or Five Bob, the latter so named because he was a wild horse rounded up and sold by local Maori for that sum. Taheke was a predominantly Maori area and my life was very affected by my contact with them.

Our horses were tamed and taught by my father to perform tricks. Everything was gently done and I never saw any force used.