I came to be a full time taxidermist in a round a bout way. When I was in my early teens living on a sheep and beef farm in the King Country of the North Island, New Zealand I mounted the odd ferret I caught in possum traps and sold for $50.
I soon started working in the shearing sheds and ended up shearing all over New Zealand, six summers in Wales, four states of Australia and also a few months in Switzerland.
In my late twenties I bought a kiwifruit orchard and spent a couple of years working in the kiwifruit industry and then when I turned thirty I made another change and joined the New Zealand Police where I spent eleven years on the front line, Search and Rescue, Disaster Victim Identification and finally as an investigator.
While I spent my time in the Police I started back doing a bit of taxidermy on my days off. The work load and my passion for taxidermy kept growing and three years ago I left the Police and when full time in our business Big Game Artistry.
My wife, Vanessa and I run our business with one employee and as the name suggests we only mount shoulder and life-size big game. We also have a team of show room cleaners which are on the pay roll (due to child labour laws) our kids Leah (8), Sammy (6) and Joe (5).
The UTA grew from the need for unity and professionalism within the taxidermy industry. In art, unity occurs when all of the elements combine to make a balanced, harmonious, complete whole. The UTA creates that unity, a place for all individuals to come together for the betterment of the industry and those that support it.
It’s no coincidence that the UTA starts with You! Be a part of the most positive new force in taxidermy. Join the United Taxidermist Association today. www.unitedtaxidermyassociation.com
I have been a member of the New Zealand taxidermy Association since its formation eleven years ago and I am now starting my eighth year on the committee with the position of Liaison Officer and have also spent four years as president and one as immediate past president.
I joined the UTA at the 2009 World Show which I attended with my good friend Ken Walker (no relation but a brother from a different mother). At the time Ken was the International Director for the UTA and I was then first international member.
I then came home and joined the whole NZTA membership up to the UTA and a year or so later the NZTA had an “Adopt a Kiwi” scheme where a UTA member paid the membership of an NZTA member to the UTA and the NZTA member paid the membership of the UTA member to the NZTA.
This benefited both associations and I was very lucky to be adopted my Brad Jones of Indiana who bought me a life Time Membership to the UTA. Ken and I have held two seminars in my shop and these have been held on behalf of the NZTA and UTA and the participants all received UTA certificates.
I suppose the area I represent is all of the countries outside of the borders of the USA. If you have an association in your country or as an individual want more information on the UTA please don’t hesitate to contact me. I believe that by bringing taxidermists together, whether this is locally or internationally benefits everyone with shared knowledge, advice and camaraderie.
We Stand Together
The United Taxidermist Association is an international organization with thousands of members worldwide. We have no boundaries. Our vision is to unite, promote, and champion the needs of taxidermists and those that support and strengthen us where ever we are.
May 10, 2013 | Mark Walker