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Be Adventurous, Take Risks, Live Your Values

19 Dec 2021
One of Aotearoa's most experienced and enduring environmental artists gives us an insight onto how he found his creative outlet.

Martin Hill is an admired New Zealand environmental sculpture artist. His work is distinctive, drawing on the natural wonders to create breath-taking and emotional images.

The Wanaka-based creative’s latest book with his partner Philippa Jones, Fine Line, has been 25 years in the making, containing environmental sculptures that encircle the Earth.

He gives us insights into his creative journey.


When I was 22, I had just returned to London after travelling overland to the Himalayas, walking from Katmandu to Everest basecamp - and back.

I was passionate about art and design, climbing and the environment.

What did that mean? Where was I going with my life?

My key piece of advice now to my 22 year old self is there is a lot of living in front of you. Don’t try to do everything before you are thirty.

Here is what I think is important:

Constantly examine your values and live them

Examine the values of those around you and ask yourself do these values fit with mine? If not, change the social environment in which you operate. 

In other words, make a critical analysis of what you believe in and stand for - and apply this to your choices of friends, goals, partner, ambitions and work. 

Rainforest Guardian by Martin Hill.

Use your sense of adventure

Utilise your adventurous tendency to take calculated risks towards achieving extraordinary experiences in a world of endless possibilities. 

You are concerned for the environment and love being creative in wild natural environments. Recognise this and combine your creativity with your love of nature, adventure and art to create a unique way of life. 

Burning Issues by Martin Hill. 

Be kind, generous and loving 

Live in the moment and have fun but with an eye on your future, be aware and flexible. 

Be creative and let your high standards guide you: if you are true to yourself the world will move to support you.

Embodied by Martin Hill.

If I had been able to give myself this advice at 22. I would not have waited until I was 48 to redesign my life according to my deepest values. 

But then I would not have met Philippa and had the time of my life ever since. 

Martin Hill at 22, on his way to Nepal. Photo: Andrew Barrett.

Wisdom, in my case, only came after some bitter experiences but joy has come to me from knowing who I am and what I believe in. 

I try to live creatively according to my values in a collaborative partnership.

Martin Hill with partner Philippa Jones & their new book Fine Line. Photo: Supplied.