Matthew Klenner is a native Kiwi, born and raised in New Zealand’s North Island along the west coast near Mt. Taranaki. Matthew and his family, who lived along side the river, frequently went eeling (eel fishing) with a piece of bamboo for a rod, bailing twine and a nail as a hook.
At age four, Matthew recalls one day when the river was flowing down the mountain (Mt. Taranaki) in full flood and a native Maori spear (pictured to the right) came floating down and Matthew fished it out. He took the spear home to show Mum and told her that he wished there was some magic tool that he could a carve like the one he found in the river. When Matthew turned 5 years old, his Mum bough him some little pencil carving tools, which ignited his passion for woodworking.
Matthew taught himself how to use the tools and eventually had three carving pieces picked from his collection to go on a national school display around the country. When Matthew was 15 years old the wood class at Inglewood High School asked him to carve a Mare Mare (a native New Zealand wooden club). His high school still has this wooden club on display to this day.
At the age of 16 Matthew was boarding away from home in Auckland, New Zealand. He called the local electric power company to track down some of the best wood for carving (a Native wood called Totara). He figured that since all electric power poles were made with this wood that the power company would have extra. A man by the name of John Fenwick answered the phone but explained to Matthew that none of this wood was available. John then asked the question, “What do you want the wood for?” Matthew told him that he wanted the wood for Maori carving. John stated that he had some Totara wood for him. Little did Matthew know that John was a New Zealand National Master Wood Carver. John asked Matt to bring some wood carving pieces with his Mum to see him. John was so impressed with Matthew’s work that he asked him to participate in a group of carvers to carve the totem pole now found in the New Zealand Embassy in London, England. Unfortunately John had passed on and that was the end of of the story, but Matthew continued to carve and hone his skills at working with wood and continued to carve.
Matthew has won numerous New Zealand titles in swimming and surf life saving competitions. He won an award for his carving at age 22. Matthew underwent an 8,000 hour apprenticeship in fitting and machining at a marine shop, Fitzroy Engineering in Taranaki, New Zealand and was top of his class in his final year. Matthew was the first machinist to pass all the positions and pressure tested welding tickets which was a first for the company . Future experience took him following the oil rigs across to Perth, Western Australia in 1984 where he became involved with the Australian Power Lifting Team. Matthew eventually took third place in the world for the super heavy weight division in 1989 and also won the World’s Strongest Man Competition in 1990, held in Perth, Western Australia. Following this success he moved to the United States for better opportunities. Matthew was married and eventually made home near Pompano Beach, Florida.
After decades of experience working with wood, machinery and construction, Matthew decided to get his building contractor’s license in 2008 and focus his efforts on Marine Construction, custom wood projects including docks and decks as well as equine construction and general construction.
In 2014, Matt was awarded the “Elite Dealer Award of the Year” from our supplier, Hurricane Boatlifts.