Welcome to the Sleepout Project

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The sleepout project is an artist-run intuitive with an emphasis on research, development, creativity and audience engagement. Through multiple platforms both within a physical space and online realm. The sleepout project is inspired by notions of a separate room from a main house. The sleepout project's idea sits on the periphery of mainstream art galleries. It is a transitional space for transformation by artists for artists and the wider community.

Nau Mai.

Whāinga | Aims

Provide a platform for artistic research and development.

Enhance well-being through the arts.

Extend and evaluate a diverse range of art practices.

Accessibility to the arts.

Whanonga Pono | Values

Whaiwhaiā | Magic

Influences that align with mystery and curiosity within art. Through magic, we can enhance our well-being and the well-being of other things through art. It explores new dimensions of art. Artistic commands and intuition.

Aronga Whanokē | Game Changer

The revision and shift towards change. Simulates thought and conceptual powers. Being a game-changer is to push boundaries and explore different directions. A game changer can make art accessible.

Kaha | Courage

Having the strength to follow your intuition and investigate concepts and ideas. Challenge yourself to challenge your perspective and to challenge your understanding. To reflect and to stand up for your well-being and art practice. To have the momentum and energy to move forward. To put your work out there and share your interests, ideas and creative work.

Whakamīharo | Wonder

Embracing the feeling of surprise caused by admiration, the unexpected, unfamiliar and beauty. To dream and manifest. To extend art practices with wonder. The desire to know something peculiar.

Co Founders

Zena Elliott (Ngāti Awa, Te Whanau ā Apanui, Ngai te Rangi, Ngāti Rangitihi, Whakatōhea, Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Raukawa) is an established Waikato based multidisciplinary artist, educator, and researcher with over 25 years experience. Elliott's creative works stimulate discussion about gender fluidity, visibility, cultural identity and popular culture. Elliott was a part of the following artist-run initiatives and collectives in the 90s and early 20s based in Hamilton; Kitch n Sync, Visual Assault Arts Collective, Above and Below, Periscope, Steve Gilpen Gallery, Room 5. Finally, co-founder of Platform 01 Contemporary Art Space and The Hamilton Contemporary Arts Trust. Elliott brings experience and knowledge of curation, installation of artist-run initiatives as well as contemporary art practices to The Sleepout Project.

To find out more about Zena Elliott, click here @linktr.ee/zena.elliott.nz

Tia Barrett (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe, Te Rapuwai, Waitaha, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tamainupō) is an emerging Waikato-based moving image practitioner and photographer. Barrett's art practice is grounded in celebrating her wahine Māori identity and deepening her connection to the whenua me o ngā tūpuna through a lens-based practice. Barrett is a recent first-class honours graduate with a Master of Visual Arts from the Auckland University of Technology. Her thesis title is 'He Pounamu Ko Aū: Celebrating my mana wahine Māori narrative'. Barrett brings over 10 years of experience in marketing, event management, and communications to The Sleepout Project.

To find out more about Tia Barrett, click here @linktr.ee/tia.barrett

Pāorooro Exhibition Kaupapa

Project 4

Poster designed by Zena Elliott

Pāorooro: Rewind, Pause, Fast Forward and Reverberate the Echoes of Māori Identity and Location.

Curated and written by Zena Elliott

"Pāorooro: Rewind, Pause, Fast Forward and Reverberate the Echoes of Māori Identity and Location”, an immersive and transformative exhibition that explores the multifaceted concept of Māori identity through whakaahua nukunuku moving image, oro tāhiko electronic sound, peita painting, whakakai adornment and whakairo carving. The Sleepout Project Space invites you to embark on a captivating journey where electronic sonic sound waves, fluoro colours, Māori design embellishments, and traditional signalling technologies such as the pūkaea converge to reveal profound insights into the relationship between Māori identity and location.

"Pāorooro: Rewind, Pause, Fast Forward and Reverberate the Echoes of Māori Identity and Location" is a metaphoric idea that investigates notions of communication and the transmission of mātauranga Māori within the artwork and beyond the wider context of the artwork. Pulsating colours, intricate tāniko beading, layers of moving images and embellished two-dimensional and sculptural forms can act as a beacon or a light in the dark, a signal for location, which helps people from going astray, while also being a signalling / guiding device and a source of ideas, information, and inspiration for future generations to connect with.

A beacon can be described as a device or signal created to attract attention to a specific location or a distant transmission of textual or symbolic messages such as sonic radar reflectors and by the colour rotational patterning not necessarily the object used to express but more of the substance projected through the beacon devices (Elliott, 2014).

At the heart of this exhibition lies the notion that sound waves possess the power to locate and identify. A pūkāea signals and communicates with the seen, and unseen, clearing paths and announcing special occasions and so much more. Just as sound waves reverberate through space, carrying echoes of the past, present, and future, Māori identity resonates through time, space, and place. Through the innovative use of message and medium, the artists featured in this exhibition offer a unique perspective on the profound connection between sound, identity, and place.


Flintoff, B. (2004). Taonga Pūoro Singing Treasures The musical instruments of the Māori. Craig Potton Publishing.

Te Kupenga Hao I Te Reo. (2023). Paekupu. https://paekupu.co.nz

Milford Galleries Dunedin. (2014). Zena Elliott Message Beacon 7 June 2 July 2014 Exhibition Work. https://www.milfordgalleries.co.nz/dunedin/exhibitions/366-Zena-Elliott-Message-Beacon

Waikato Museum. (2016). Haukura Neon Voice Recent works by Zena Elliott. https://www.waikatomuseum.co.nz/exhibitions-and-events/view/2145882698/haukuraneon-voice-recent-works-by-zena-elliott

Pāorooro Ngā Mahi Toi (The Art of Pāorooro)

Project 4

Ururangi by Rangimoana Morgan


by Jordyn Daniels

Untitled by Synz Harden-Fortes

Aroha by Michelle Karl

Rama Tehoro Tamihana Rhind by Michelle Karl

Untitled by Synz Harden-Fortes

Untitled by Jordyn Daniels

Nukunuku by Tia Barrett

I Am The Whenua - The Whenua Is Me

by Fleur McManus

Self Portrait by Fleur McManus

Stop Motion made by Tia Barrett of Jordyn Daniels Baby Triangles

The Soundless Vibration of Colour by Zena Elliott. Filming and Editing by Tia Barrett

Pāorooro Ngā Ringatoi (The Artists of Pāorooro)

Left to right: Rangimoana Morgan, Fleur McManus, Jordyn Daniels, Michelle Karl, Tia Barrett, Zena Elliott, Synz Harden-Fortes.

Standing in from of 'Ururangi' by Rangimoana Morgan. Photo credit Ngaroma Riley taken on the opening night. 29/07/2023.

Pāorooro Ngā Iwi me ngā Mahi Toi ō Ngā Ringatoi (Tribes and Art Mediums)

Rangimoana Morgan | Ngaati Hauaa, Ngaati Maniapoto, Te Whakatoohea | Working with oil and flashé (vinyl paint) on canvas.

Fleur McManus | Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Whatua | Working with printing materials.

Jordyn Daniels | Ngāi Tahu | Working with paint on MDF and canvas.

Michelle Karl | Ngāti Hauaa, Ngāti Tipa | Working with printing materials and multi-media.

Tia Barrett | Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe, Waitaha, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tamainupō | Working with moving image.

Zena Elliott | Ngāti Awa, Ngai Te Rangi, Ngāti Rangitihi, Te Whanau a Haraawaka | Working with wood, paint and sound.

Synz Harden-Fortes | Ngāti Awa | Working with bead and thread.

All artwork apart of Pāorooro: Rewind, Pause, Fast Forward and Reverberate the Echoes of Māori Identity and Location is in full copyright of each participating artist in the show. Please seek their permission if you would like to use their work.

Whakairo Wānanga

Project 3 (Day One)


Getting comfortable with the whao and tā

Kai and Korero

Feeding the soul

Sharing Experiences

Learning from each other

Photography by Tia Barrett

Whakairo Wānanga

Project 3 (Day Two)

Practicing Haehae and Pākati

Learning and teaching

Manaakitanga and Kai

Looking after the people


Working and learning together

Photography by Tia Barrett

Sharing Space With Rangatahi

Project 2

The Sleepout Project is a transformative

environment that shares space with

future potential and aims to support

rangatahi realise their innate talents

guided by a tuakana, teina methodology.

Photo by Tia Barrett

Project 1

The Electric Colour Capacitor

“The Electric Colour Capacitor is a multi-disciplinary oro hiko toi project that resounds the living echo and mauri of colour. Tangible and intangible electrical light and sound hover across the terrain of carving and glow-in-the-dark artworks. The creative expression stimulates the experiences of te ihi, te wehi and te wana”. Zena Elliott, 2023.

Filming and Editing by Tia Barrett.

Lighting, Music, Whakairo and Painting by Zena Elliott.


Visit physical space by appointment


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