He was a New Zealand ceramicist of Te Roroa, Ngāti Whātua and Ngāpuhi descent on his father’s side and Greek descent on his mother’s.
Nathan was born in Rawene in 1948. He completed a Diploma of Textile Design at Wellington Polytechnic School of Design in 1968–70.
In 1986 Nathan, along with Baye Riddell, founded Ngā Kaihanga Uku, the national Māori clayworkers’ organisation in Aotearoa New Zealand.
He was also a foundation member of Te Atinga, the Visual Arts committee of Toi Māori Aotearoa.
Nathan exhibited widely around the world and was actively engaged with cultural exchanges with indigenous peoples of Japan, Australia, the Pacific, the United States and Canada.
He received many recognitions and honours in his career, including a Fulbright research award in 1989, “Te Ara Whakarei” honorary user status for the toi iho Māori Made Mark in 2002, and the Excellence Prize in the 2009 Ulsan International Onggi Competition in South Korea.
Nathan was inducted into the College of Creative Arts Toi Rauwharangi (Massey University) Hall of Fame in 2010, along with textile designer Avis Higgs.
Work by Manos Nathan is held in New Zealand and international collections, including the British Museum, the National Museum of Scotland, the Ethnological Museum of Berlin, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and the Dowse Art Museum.
Manos Nathan died of leukaemia on 2 September 2015.