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Artists to make their mark on Grey Lynn

8 April 2005

Unique opportunity for artists to make their mark on Grey Lynn

Auckland City is calling for artists to express interest in designing a new artistic focal point for Grey Lynn to reflect the different cultures in the area and celebrate the artistic talents of the community.

The deadline for expressions of interest is Monday 16 May 5pm.

Artists may enter concept designs that include a range of artistic responses such as sculpture, multimedia, text-based works, suspended artworks, integrated soft and hard landscape, or kinetic/dynamic works.

The artwork or artwork features could be used to: communicate the history of the area or surrounding features describe or express the unique identity of the area create areas of interest that stimulate conversation and discussion provide a signal or gateway into the town centre provide an iconic symbol for Grey Lynn.

The artwork will be located within the boundary of the Grey Lynn shopping precinct at the intersection of Great North Road and Williamson Avenue.

Three artists will be shortlisted and paid $2,000 each by Auckland City to develop a concept design. From these three designs, one concept plan will be chosen and the successful artist will be paid $2,000 to develop detailed drawings and costings. Production and installation of the artwork should be completed by July 2006.

It is hoped that the artwork will be the pièce de résistance for Grey Lynn's new look in the future, as planning for a streetscape upgrade for the area begins later this year.

Brian McClure, a member of the Grey Lynn Business Association, is undertaking fundraising sponsorship to cover the production and installation of the artwork, estimated to cost between $75,000 and $100,000.

Mr McClure says, "We want to give the Grey Lynn business centre an identity as a platform for local retailers to attract new business and investment to the area. The community is right behind the initiative and anyone interested in fundraising activities should contact me to see how they can get involved".

For a copy of the artwork brief, contact the Community Planning Administration Officer at Auckland City by phoning (09) 307 7548 , email jennie.atkinson@aucklandcity.govt.nz or visit www.aucklandcity.govt.nz/whatson/arts/publicart/projects.asp. Ends

Note to editors: Historical information about the Grey Lynn area The area known as Grey Lynn today has previously been known by many names. Māori called the area around Cox's Creek Opoutuheka or Opou, while Western Springs was referred to as Waiorea or 'eel water'. The Surrey Crescent ridge was Te Raeokawharu, 'Kawharu's brow' commemorating the spot where an invading chief rested.

The Grey Lynn and Westmere area was bought from Māori by the Crown as a block of 13,000 acres for the sum of £200, 4 horses, 30 blankets, 10 cloaks worth £25, one tent and one sealing box. Settlers wishing to buy land in the area were best advised to travel to Cox's Bay by boat as there was little land access.

The area bordered by Great North Road, Surrey Crescent, Ponsonby Road and Richmond Road was purchased by James Williamson and was called the Surrey Hills Estate after his home county in England. In 1883, he sold the land to a company, who subdivided the land into sections advertised as the ‘Surrey Hills Estate’. The borough was renamed Newton in 1885 and eventually named Grey Lynn, after Sir George Grey, in 1901. The community was populated by new immigrants of largely British descent, expecting a materially better way of life.

The demographic of Grey Lynn began to alter from the 1950s with the arrival of Polynesian immigrants. At this time Pacific Islanders living in Samoa, the Cook Islands and Niue were permitted to freely migrate to New Zealand where they found employment. Extended families would often follow. From the late 1990s Grey Lynn’s Pacific Island population has been declining.

However 2001 Census data indicates Pacific peoples still comprise approximately 20 per cent of the population, compared to an average of 13 per cent in Auckland City and 6 per cent nationally. Low rents also meant that a significant number of artists and students lived in the Grey Lynn area and contributed to its flavour. Today the Grey Lynn shopping area continues to serve a multi-cultural community, however the surrounding area is undergoing some gentrification.


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