Lewis was born and raised in Mataura, Southland but returned to his family land, Rotoiti near Rotorua in 1989. He attended Waiariki Polytechnic, graduating in Maori Craft and Design, studying with Ross Hemera, Tina Wirehana and Lyonel Grant. It was during his final year that he was introduced to the valuable taonga (treasure) pounamu (jade).
In 1995, he became a full-time jade and bone carver specialising in traditional Maori imagery in his work. He has quickly become recognised as one of the most innovative Maori jade carvers for his unique style, with inventive designs and composition. He also utilising many colours of jade which adds depth and variety to his work. He became increasingly recognised and sought after since he won the Mana Pounamu Awards for contemporary Maori jade design in 1999, 2001 and 2003. His jade works are valued by collectors both in New Zealand and all over the world from Europe, Asia, Australia and the USA.
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