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Children’s art brightens up Arataki Underpass

Children’s art brightens up Arataki Underpass

14 June 2005

Art created by Auckland students to celebrate the beauty of the Waitakere Ranges will be unveiled at the official opening of the Arataki Underpass on Saturday 18 June.

The tunnel was built as the best solution to a hazardous road crossing, says Chair of the Auckland Regional Council’s Parks and Heritage Committee, Sandra Coney.

“Around 12,500 children were crossing Scenic Drive every year to take part in Education Programmes at Arataki. Added to that, we have around 180,000 visitors to the Arataki Visitor Centre crossing Scenic Drive each year to walk the Nature Trail. With the 100km/hr speed limit and increasing traffic, crossing the road was risky and it was only a matter of time before a serious accident or fatality occurred.”

Cr Coney says that although the tunnel is a great way of ensuring the safety of visitors, grey concrete walls were cold and uninviting.

“The tunnel needed to be brought to life to give visitors a warmer welcome to Arataki,” she says.

Schools were invited to each send two students to a two-day workshop at Arataki to create art for the tunnel. Artist Penny Howard ran the workshop and internationally renowned Waitakere artist Dean Buchanan visited the students during the workshop to discuss his art and the inspiration of the Waitakere Ranges for his work.

“The finished art work is a credit to all those involved. The children have created beautiful panels of art that represent entry into the forest world and celebrate the splendour of the Waitakere Ranges,” says Cr Coney.

The official opening of the underpass this Saturday will be a great opportunity to enjoy the art and celebrate the Auckland Regional Council working toward making a key destination safer for all visitors. It is also a chance to thank Resene for supplying the paint for the artwork, and Friends of Arataki and the Titirangi Arts Council for contributing to the cost of the art signage.

Ends

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