Past event

18 August to 18 August 2023

What if a taniwha shapeshifted into poi?

Kahurangiariki Smith, What if my best friend was a taniwha?, video game (still), 2023.

Kahurangiariki Smith, What if my best friend was a taniwha?, video game (still), 2023.

18 August to 18 August 2023. Free entry.

18 August, 2 – 4pm
The Physics Room, 301 Montreal Street

Join us inside a taniwha’s puku (the gallery) on Friday 18 August for a wānanga with the contributing artists of our current exhibition. This will be a space where we make, learn about and discuss key ideas that brought this exhibition to life.

We will open the wānanga hearing from the artists, Aj Fata, Kahurangiariki Smith and Tyrone Te Waa, about their practices in the context of Te puku o te taniwha, and stories that have been influential on their work. In the latter half we will keep the conversations flowing while we create our own taniwha poi, inspired by the vibrant artworks we’ll be sitting amongst. What would it look like if a taniwha shapeshifted into poi? Let’s find out!

Just bring yourself, everyone is welcome to join this free event. All materials for making poi will be provided. Refreshments and Koko Samoa will also be available.


Aj Fata (Ngāti Makirangi / Sāmoa) grew up in South Auckland, Manurewa. Spanning a range of media including digital, print-making, poetry and music, the backbone of her practice is indigenous empowerment in te ao hurihuri. Fata’s work was part of The water tastes different here, Tautai Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2022, within the rōpū In*ter*is*land Collective, a tagata Moana, queer-led collective based in London and Aotearoa and the expanse of moana between. Fata is currently undertaking rūmaki reo Māori study through Te Wananga Takiura o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa, and exploring electronic music through the alias ajhoneysuckle.

Kahurangiariki Smith’s waka are Te Arawa, Tainui, Takitimu, Horouta and Mataatua. She is based in Kirikiriroa. Smith’s practice frequently focuses on mana wāhine, and is influenced by ideas of indigenous futurism. Sometimes playful, sometimes cheeky, Kahurangiariki’s work explores a range of media such as moving image, karaoke, video games, and neon. Smith was part of the group exhibition Māori Moving Image ki Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Ōtautahi, 2022. She has made work in collaboration with her mother, Aroha Yates-Smith, and worked alongside Graeme Atkins, Alex Monteith and Natalie Robertson on ‘Te rerenga pōuri o nga parawhenua ki Te Moana-nui-ā-Kiwa’, Moana Don’t Cry, Te Tuhi, Pakuranga, 2019. Most recently, Smith’s work was included in the 15th Sharjah Biennale, Thinking Historically in the Present, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 2023.

Tyrone Te Waa (Ngāti Tūwharetoa) lives and works in Tāmaki Makaurau. Te Waa typically works with materials, making sculpture and more recently, wall based textile work which continue to be informed by his research into takatāpui, queer, and gay histories. He completed a Master of Creative Practice through Unitec in 2021, and has since held exhibitions including Clingwrap, Sanc Gallery, and A New Net: Four Early-Career Māori Artists at Tim Melville Gallery, both in Tāmaki Makaurau, 2021. Te Waa’s solo exhibition, WīWī WāWā, is on at Anna Miles Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau, until 12 August 2023.