Tiriwa Watene has always painted, written, drawn and carved. His work is influenced by living in the knowledge of tikanga Maori, his connection to Io the creator, his response to the effects of colonisation and to the environment.
All works up to 2010 were given as gifts or sold and the proceeds donated to various youth mentor programmes. His 2009 painting Keepers of the Trees was exhibited at the Douse Gallery. It represented NZ in Canada at the W.P.A.C. His work has been shown at: Albany Arts Festival 2008, 2009; Waitangi Cultural North Event 2009; Mairangi Bay Gallery Auckland 2009; Hidden Talent NRCF Featured Artist; Ngapuhi Festival 2010; Waitangi Day exhibit 2010; Volunteer Appreciation Event Orakei Marae 2010
His first solo show was held at the Kaikohe Art Gallery in 2010. In 2012 three works were finalists in the Corbans Estate Art Awards and in 2013 his work Loss was a finalist at the Waikato Painters and Printmakers Awards. Current work is ehibited at West Coast Gallery, Piha
Tiriwa is a published writer and poet, he recites whakapapa and through family affiliations, has carvings and paintings displayed in First Nation meeting houses in Winnipeg, Canada. He lives at Karekare, in the Waitakere Ranges. His iwi is Te Tao.