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By Tyrone Te Waa

Exhibition Dates:  16 March - 6 October 2024

Tyrone Te Waa is a visual storyteller who was born in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland. The artist invites audiences to enter his mind, which is led by a sense of wonder, curiosity, and exploration.

Te Rūma Moenga / The Mattress Room (Memory Foam) is a multi-functional art installation. The gallery is transformed into a soft and cozy dreamland with plush carpet covering the gallery surfaces, and a number of sculptural paintings artfully stacked against the walls.

This multi-functional art installation utilises unique aspects of Māori cultural experience, with specific references to marae and wharenui, to create an interactive environment which can be enjoyed by kids and adults together.


A marae is a fenced-in complex of carved buildings and grounds that belongs to a particular iwi (tribe), hapū (sub-tribe) or whanau (family). Māori see their marae as their trangawaewae - their place to stand and belong.

Marae is used for hui (meetings), ahuareka (celebrations), tangi (funerals), educational workshops and other important tribal events.


The wharenui or carved meeting house. A wharenui resembles the human body in structure and usually represents a particular ancestor of the tribe.
The wharenul is considered the physical embodiment of an ancestor, when you step inside the wharenui, you enter their body. The Wharenui is also an art gallery and library, decorated from floor to ceiling with ancestral stories and patterns carved and woven for the people to touch, read, and reflect

This project demonstrates aspects of Māori culture by incorporating indigenous principles into its design and execution, and by platforming Māori traditions of communal learning and storytelling. Throughout the exhibition period, the space will be activated through a program of workshops, storytelling and cultural exchange. All of this is in serves of welcoming visitors into a cultural experience from a Māori perspective.


Tyrone Te Waa (Ngātī Tūwharetoa, Ngātī Maniapoto) is a visual storyteller whose work is led by wonder, curiosity, serendipity, and inquisitive exploration of the sensorial. His practice revolves around a constant delving into the imaginative and expressing the complex ways we make sense of our lived experience.

Tyrone spent his formative years in Kiama on building sites, working for the family restoration business, which no doubt had a major influence on his art practice which often sees him recycle textile and structural materials for his imaginative worlds. He often weaves together the known and the unknown, builds alternative realities and webs together new possibilities with everyday materials found in the seemingly mundane aspects of our lives.

Tyrone completed a Master of Creative Practice at Unitec (Auckland, Aotearoa) in 2021. In 2022 he was awarded an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Te Tumu Toi Springboard and was mentored by artist, Maungarongo ‘Ron’ Te Kawa. Recent exhibitions include Clingwrap, Sanc Gallery (2021), Circle Turtle (with Reece King), Papakura Art Gallery (2022), Whetūrangitia/Made As Stars, Dowse Art Museum (2022) and WīWī WāWā at Anna Miles Gallery (2023).