Maori Lane

Layne Waerea

8 July 2019 - 1 September 2019


Layne Waerea is a Papakura-based artist and teacher. Her work MAORI LANE blurs the lines between performance, activism and legal theory. This work documents Waerea as she darts in and out of the bus lane on Auckland’s Symonds Street, avoiding the oncoming traffic, while she slowly stencils the words ‘MAORI LANE’ in white chalk across the asphalt. As buses drive in the newly assigned lane, the letters become increasingly smudged and displaced as they are run over. 

As a former lawyer, Waerea uses this knowledge to test the limits of the law through artistic civil disobedience, intending to provoke a discussion about ‘legal rights relating to the ownership of fresh water in Aotearoa New Zealand today.’ With an iPhone taped to her chest acting as a body-cam, the footage doubles as a safeguard and documentation of the performance. The appearance of a police car heightens the tension when it parks over Waerea’s work, hiding the stencilled letters and temporarily absolving her of any civil disobedience.

By creating a ‘Māori Lane,’ Waerea was aiming to create a space that provokes and encourages conversation and future action about the management of our natural resources; a conversation that the last two governments have struggled to address and resolve – and one that demands acknowledgement of the rights Māori may have to fresh water as affirmed in Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Layne Waerea’s MAORI LANE is part of ‘Nocturnal Projections and Other Small Happenings,’ a biennial sound and light exhibition that occupies various locations across the city from 17 – 31 July 2019. For more information please visit

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