• Tapatai Driftwood Art
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Driftwood Art Sculpture

A big storm and a mountain of driftwood blocking the local surf club inspired Greg and Sarah to create their Tapatai driftwood art sculpture business.

Mountains of driftwood

In 2010 a storm hit Waipu Cove and deposited mountains of driftwood in front of the surf club, impeding beach access for the patrol. Greg cleared the driftwood from in front of the surf club and the ute was soon filled.

Morris the Moa

Not long after, Morris the Moa was created and sold to Auckland Zoo. We didn’t realise it at the time but driftwood art had just become a new way for us to express 3-dimensional interpretations.

Driftwood art

Driftwood art was a natural progression for Think Tank Creative and in 2011 we created Tapatai Driftwood Creations, a division of Think Tank.

Our driftwood sculptures have proved popular throughout New Zealand. Driftwood sculptures can be made to order as a commission, or there’s normally something in stock.

Driftwood collecting

Each piece of driftwood is carefully collected from a New Zealand beach, normally within a 6-7 hour drive of our Northland base. We let the driftwood speak to us. Some pieces will stand out as a leg part or fin, claw, talon or wing. Into the ute they go.

Collecting driftwood from pristine Northland beaches

Normally a day travelling and a couple of days collecting will yield enough driftwood for 2-3 driftwood sculptures, depending on size. We mainly select hardwood driftwood, which will last for years to come.

Sarah collecting driftwood

Balance & posture

It’s crucial to get the form and proportions correct when creating a driftwood art sculpture. With a good technical eye, the team have no problems there. We use stainless steel screws and rods to fix the pieces together. The key part is to get the natural balance and posture right so each creation stands up, just like it would in the wild.

Horse driftwood art sculpture

Who buys our driftwood art sculpture?

Typical clients are private art collectors, wineries, museums, Auckland Zoo, and the general public. Our driftwood art sculptures make a great statement in a foyer or garden entrance, and provide a talking point and a good photo opportunity.

Driftwood art private collection
Moa driftwood art sculpture outside The Kauri Museum   Giraffe driftwood art sculpture ready to go to a customer

Where are they?

We have delivered sculptures to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Gisborne, Tauranga, the Far North, et al. And what can’t be delivered can be crated and sent by freight anywhere in the world!

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Our biggest beast

The T Rex has been our largest driftwood art sculpture made to date. Rexie stands 2.5 metres high by 5 metres long. He was collected in a large truck and now lives in Christchurch.

Our smallest

The smallest driftwood art sculpture we have made to date is a fantail. It stands about 600 mm high and now lives in Levin.

Popular driftwood art subjects

Some of the most popular commissions are…

  • wetas
  • pukekos
  • moas
  • eagles
  • sharks
  • pelicans
  • dogs
  • horses
  • a cow
  • a crocodile
  • and even a Pegasus

to name just a few!

See more on our “Tapatai Driftwood Creations” Facebook page »

Baby pukeko driftwood art sculpture

Crayfish driftwood art sculpture

Crocodile driftwood art sculpture

Driftwood art private collection

Driftwood art private collection

Pelican driftwood art sculpture #1 Pelican driftwood art sculpture #2

See more on our “Tapatai Driftwood Creations” Facebook page »

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Installation & care of your driftwood art sculpture

Make sure your sculpture is in a sheltered dry area, away from prevailing winds. The ideal location is sitting on a deck or concrete floor, not on the earth or in the mud or snow.

If a storm or bad weather is forecast, protect your sculpture and move it or tie it down.

Check the screws every Spring and tighten if required – the wood expands and contracts with the different seasons.

Your sculpture is not a toy; don’t let people play with it or climb on it.