Bino Smith

Bino’s working life has been as varied as his personal life, where he graduated from the ‘School of Hard Knocks’ & ‘University of Real Life’ with honours.

Passionate about his Māori heritage, language and self-expression through his art, Bino now dedicates his life to helping young people return to their roots, their Whakapapa, to ‘find their way home’ using art and carving as a creative way to connect.

Leaving home and school at a young age, and following the footsteps of Whanau, Bino became a patched gang member by the time he was 15. After 11 years he decided to leave the gang life and was inspired to create change in his life, not only for himself, but for his Whanau and community.

Introduced by chance to Sir Peter Jackson, Bino accepted the opportunity to work for Sir Peter as a set finisher for 10 years until he decided to be a Tai Chi instructor for the elderly with arthritis, a mission which touched his heart. Bino was also a ‘Lifeline’ counsellor, personal trainer and inspirational speaker, to name but a few roles Bino enjoyed.

As a multi-medium artist, Bino has always used art and carving to express himself and connect to people where he now specialises in carving out surfboard blanks to a niche market globally. 

Bino’s passion to help and inspire people from all walks of life has been his destiny for a long time. Through his own life experiences, his desire is to show anything is possible if you believe in yourself, have the courage, determination and the perseverance to succeed in life and discover and unleash your true potential.

As a facilitator for Bridge The Gap Project, he inspires, collaborates and facilitates to an expansive community, including public speaking at schools and events and facilitating workshops and programmes.

For the story on why he turned his Mobster life around, how he got to work with Sir Peter Jackson, and what he wants for all youth, especially Maori youth, click here

To find out Bino's inspiration to delve deeper into his Maori Heritage by enrolling himself into Waikato University, click here

For Bino's Facebook page, click here