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The Tile Depot Journey with Whale Tales 2022

10 June 2021

The Tile Depot is very excited to be a Whale Tales sculpture sponsor as part of Whale Tales 2022.


The Whale Tales event is an immersive art experience presented by WWF-New Zealand, in partnership with Wild in Art and Auckland Unlimited. It is a celebration of NZ art and culture that raises awareness of our unique marine ecosystems. Inspired by the Nationally Critical Brydes Whale, of which there is a resident population of approximately 50 whales in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, there are 100 whale tail sculptures being transformed by 100 New Zealand artists.


In January 2022 these sculptures will form a public art trail throughout Auckland City, providing a unique way to explore Auckland and bring to life stories about the marine environment and the need for its protection. The art trail will be in place for 12 weeks at which time the sculptures will be auctioned and the proceeds will go to supporting WWF-New Zealand and their work, particularly as it pertains to the protection of the coastal environment.


With many of our Tile Depot staff and family members passionate about the ocean (even a couple of Marine Biology degrees in the mix), the chance to fund a Whale Tales sculpture and play a small part in the protection of vulnerable marine species was an opportunity not to be missed.


Some of the very excited Tile Depot "Green Team" Amelia and Toni with Aaron Kereopa and Daniel Kereopa.


As a sculpture partner, the Tile Depot is sponsoring the tail being transformed by Raglan artist Aaron Kereopa. Aaron Kereopa is a contemporary NZ artist with a strong affinity to the ocean. He lives beside it, surfs in it and is inspired daily by it. A Fine Art Surfboard sculptor, Aaron draws upon his Maori heritage to express his connections to the ocean environment, culture, genealogy and lifestyle experiences, and in so doing creates incredibly unique pieces of work. We feel really privileged to have been paired with Aaron and really look forward to seeing his finished artwork. To view Aaron's artwork go to:


Aaron Kereopa and his brother Daniel collect the Whale Tales sculpture from Tile Depot Head Office, Auckland, May 2021.


We also had the bonus of being able to offer our Lower Hutt showroom as a workspace to mosaic artist Rachel Silver. Staff and clients alike will be able to observe Rachel at work and watch the transformation of her sculpture in situ. This work is due to commence in July 2021.


Ani and Adam from our Lower Hutt store with the Whale Tales sculpture that will be transformed in-store. 


So follow our Whale Tales 2022 journey and share in the excitement as some rather lovely white fibreglass whale tail sculptures are transformed into unique masterpieces by Aaron Kereopa and Rachel Silver. We hope you enjoy the updates as they come to hand and when the opportunity arises in 2022, go and participate in what will be an amazing art trail.


Aaron Kereopa's Whale Tales 2022 Sculpture. Last seen in a secret shed location somewhere near Raglan.




Only 5 months to go until the Whale Tales 2022 Sculpture trail will be in place. (24th January - 18th April 2022)

Our Tile Depot Whale Tales team recently attended a WWF hosted Whale Tales Workshop via zoom which reinforced the purpose of this exciting event : To raise  public awareness and funds for the protection of Hauraki Gulf's maritime environment. 

The Brydes whale is the flagship species for this event for several reasons:

  • The Hauraki Gulf is one of only 3 locations in the world where Brydes whales are resident year round.
  • They have a small population (~135 individuals) and are classified as Nationally Critical.
  • They feed and rest close to surface so are vulnerable to ship strike.
  • Whales are top of the foodchain and great indicators of ecosystem health. If the whale population is healthy, the ecosystem and everything in it will be doing well also.
  • Protection and recovery of whale populations may help buffer marine ecosystems from human induced stressors - such as pollution, prey depletion, habitat degradation, climate change, noise pollution etc.
  • Whales are large, beautiful and generate an emotional response in many people. They are the perfect species to raise awareness and protection of our marine environment.


 We were very excited to get these progress shots from our talented friend Aaron Kereopa and the golden transformation of his whale tail sculpture. 

The Whale Tales 2022 event is a collaborative event, with numerous groups coming together to support the creation of a fabulous art trail, which will have ongoing environmental and educational benefits long after the trails conclusion. It couldn't run without the collective contributions of 80 NZ artists, the chief sponsors WWF NZ, Wild in Art and Auckland Unlimited and the numerous sculpture sponsors like The Tile Depot and other contributors.  Presentation of the event is by Harcourts.




Our Lower Hutt Store (399 Hutt Road Petone)  is very fortunate to host mosaic artist Rachel Silver of Silver Mosaics while she transforms her Wale Tail Sculpture into a colourful and textured masterpiece in-store. If you're in the Wellington area, make the most of the opportunity to view the sculpture and maybe catch Rachel in the creative process, before it is completed and shipped to Auckland. 


The latest glimpse of Aaron Kereopa's Whale Tale sculpture titled 'Sky Walkers'.

So named by Aaron as: "We could be viewed upon by whales as those whom walk and live in the sky. Sky walkers can be seen surfing throughout this design."




Rachel Silver's Whale Tale scuplture, sponsored by Humes Pipeline Systems, is nearing completion. Titled 'Matariki', Rachel took her inspiration from the whale named 'Matariki' that graced the Wellington harbour causing the cancellation of the Matariki fireworks celebrations in 2018. "Matariki is an abbreviation of ‘Ng? Mata o te Ariki’ – The Eyes of the God. Whales are known as water deities or gods of the ocean worshipped amongst throughout the world. In Maori Mythology the eyes of the God referred to is T?whirim?tea, god of the winds and weather who tore out his own eyes, crushed them into pieces and stuck them onto the sky. The eyes in the tail represent the 9 stars in the Matariki constellation." 




Our Albany Tile Depot store hosted local artist A.J. David and her Whale Tale Sculpture while she painted it. Sponsored by Ride Cloud 9, her tail is titled :Just Fowlin' Around" and will be located outside the Takapuna Beach Cafe once the trail opens.



Make sure you check out the Whale Tales 2022 Instagram page : whaletales2022 to view the progress of all the amazing artists and sculptures involved in the event. 


For more general information please go to:

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