Clem is of Ngā Puhi descent. He lives and works in the small idyllic harbour town of Havelock, situated at the head of Pelorus Sound in the beautiful Marlborough Sounds at the top of New Zealand's South Island.
His love of daily walks through nearby native forest beside the peaceful waters of Te Hoiere is reflected in the flowing natural forms of his work. The influence of his Māori ancestry is also very strong in both his work and his life. He returns a lot of his energy to his people, as his work is always in demand for special treasures on Māori Marae in tribal areas throughout the country.
Clem's greatest love is working stone, watching its colours emerge and adapting design as the stone itself suggests. Pounamu (New Zealand Jade) and Pakohe (Argillite) are his favourite stones. Pakohe is a metamorphosed mudstone, harder than steel and once highly prized for adze making and personal adornment.
Pounamu - his first love - is a world class nephrite jade with a rich variety of colour variations. These can have inclusions such as beautiful cloud patterns, or even fishskin-like mottling. When worked into the design these enhance both the appearance and esteem of the work. From these variations come the traditional names Kōkopu for its spotted appearance like a fish of that name "Pipiwhararoa" for the feather-like pattern of the shining cuckoo, and so on.
Despite being self-taught in these media, Clem's influence through informal teaching at his workshop is significant. He also runs a gallery in Havelock which displays his own work, and that of other local artists, just along from the well known Mussel Boys Restaurant. While his most treasured carvings have gone back to the Māori world, through exhibition sales and commissions, his work has also spread into public and private collections worldwide.
Clem and Brian have formed a complementary friendship, and are now firmly established as having a rightful place in the front ranks of present day artists working with traditional themes in traditional mediums. Their works have been described as "Heirlooms of the Future".