Q&A with New Zealand Art Gallery: The Poi Room

Showcasing our partnership with Auckland’s boutique Māori art gallery

Here at Sofia Minson Art, we're celebrating our relationships within the vibrant New Zealand art industry where we're fortunate to collaborate with artists and art enthusiasts alike. 

This month, the light shines on The Poi Room – an Auckland gallery, with destinations in Newmarket and Ponsonby, specialising in New Zealand wall art, art objects and artisan jewellery. 

Speaking with The Poi Room about their shared passion for Māori art...

A bit of history behind the gallery

Just over 12 years ago, The Poi Room opened in Newmarket. The idea behind the gallery was to have an accessible space filled with treasured works made by New Zealand artists.

The collective of art-lovers over at The Poi Room saw a need for a place of display – a place where artists and art-enthusiasts could admire great works made in our home, Aotearoa.

New Zealand-made: the ‘Poi’ personality

Just as Sofia’s art focuses on the traditions and landscape of New Zealand, The Poi Room is unique in that their products are all New Zealand-made. “Our joint value for Māori culture is one of the many elements that makes our partnership with Sofia Minson so special,” says Melanie-Jane, Creative Director at The Poi Room.

Discovery of Sofia Minson Art

The Poi Room discovered Sofia’s art a number of years ago when they were browsing another Māori art gallery.

“Wandering the city many years ago we came across a fabulous painting by Sofia in a gallery – it was absolutely breathtaking! We later learnt that the piece was a depiction of Sofia’s great-grandmother ‘Matire Te Horowai’,” Melanie tells us.

A meaningful artistic connection

Each piece of art is all about telling a story – every person will feel a different connection, or read a different idea. For The Poi Room, it’s all about the life and culture behind Sofia’s pieces – particularly the depiction of eyes.

“I feel a warm connection with Sofia’s work, particularly as we are from the same Iwi, Ngati Porou,” says Melanie. “I also love the way Sofia paints eyes – they are full of expression. Be it warmth, strength, determination. For me, I am gripped by these eyes, they are the connection to the essence of the painting.”

Personal favourites showcased at The Poi Room

As a long-term partner, The Poi Room showcases a number of Sofia’s pieces with firm favourites being ‘Ranginui’ and ‘Tuihana’.

“I love ‘Ranginui', in fact, we have bought him! He has the most wonderful face, wrinkles, averted eyes and soft cloak,” Melanie tells us. “He is in our living room – his eyes averted to the sky outside. Tuihana is also a favourite – I love the koru and taniko patterns together with the most amazing mustard paint.”

Stories from the gallery floor

The Poi Room is a destination where people have the opportunity to connect with Sofia’s art in person. There’s an intimacy to these moments, often sparking deep and powerful emotions.

“A couple visited the gallery, and were awe-inspired by Sofia’s work – browsing through our collection of New Zealand art prints,” Melanie recalls.

“When the gentleman came across Sofia’s piece ‘The Navigators’, he was taken aback – his eyes filled with tears as he told us a story of a wave he had been caught in during a boat trip. The sheer size and strength of the wave meant that he was truly lucky to be alive, and the depiction of the sea in Sofia’s painting reminded him greatly of this experience.”

Purchasing this piece, the gentleman said as he looks up at it on his wall every day he will always be reminded to never take life for granted, and to remember what he had already overcome.

Onward and upward: a vibrant collection

As a renowned Māori art gallery located in two prime Auckland locations, The Poi Room are in the heart of the New Zealand art industry.

When asked of their future, the team over at The Poi Room noted their endeavours to keep introducing fresh, vibrant art in the New Zealand art space.

Celebrating a synergy: artist create stories, galleries share them

“Sofia openly shares her life with us through her paintings,” says Melanie. “We see her travels, her research, her whakapapa, her spirituality and her authenticity in her work.” 

Would you like to see Sofia’s artwork in person? See our gallery locations.


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