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Watch This Space Pōneke!

Several murals will be popping up around Pōneke over the next couple of months recognising mana whenua, our creative culture and adding further vibrancy to the capital.

The three main projects will have many benefits for the city, from acknowledging mana whenua sites of significance and making our cultural heritage more visible through ngā toi Māori, to contributing to safer, brighter and more vibrant public spaces.

Murals also celebrate the creative talent residing in our city, provide a foundation for upskilling opportunities for artists, minimises graffiti, and gives a sense of connection and belonging to place.

Wellington City Council has commissioned local artist Ariki Brightwell, Rongowhakaata, Raukawa, Te Arawa, Ngati Toa, to paint a mural along a retaining wall on Bowen Street.

This artwork will mark the installation of a transitional cycleway along the Botanic Garden ki Paekākā to city route.

Ariki’s artwork Kaiota responds to the heritage of this location as a site of significance for mana whenua for food cultivation and hunting.

The artwork connects to the past, to Pōneke’s pre-colonial heritage and contributes another layer of meaning to this space, says Ariki.

“The artwork will depict the atua Rongomatane, representing food plantations and peace and Haumiatiketike, representing the wild food and fauna surrounding the area.

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“Art changes a site. It determines and changes the energy of the space and draws people in.”

Early next year, Keri Mei Zagrobelna (Te Atiawa) and Tina Rae Carter will start painting a mural on the east wall of St James Theatre, from Monday 9 January.

As part of the Urban Design upgrade of Garret Street and Swan Lane, Izzy Joy (Kāi Tahu) will start work on a new mural on Garrett Street on the south wall of Café Eis . This project also kicks off on Monday 9 January.

Senior Arts Advisor Katie Taylor-Duke says it’s important to value the unique contribution of Māori to the cultural landscape and identity of Pōneke.

“These projects are a way for mana whenua to express their mātauranga in our city’s infrastructure.

“Creative placemaking like murals animate public space, rejuvenate structures and streetscapes and bring people together to celebrate, inspire and be inspired.”

Other murals planned for 2023:

  • A Tawa mural will be painted mid-late January by Sheyne Tuffery that depicts Tawa’s natural environment.
  • A mural will be painted on a wall adjacent to Ākau Tangi Sports Centre in Kilbirnie as part of Let’s Get Wellington Moving.
  • A transitional cycleways mural will be painted at the intersection of Raroa Rd and Plunket St.
  • A local Karori resident in collaboration with the wider Karori community has raised money and commissioned Māori artist Theo Arraj to paint a large-scale mural that celebrates local birdlife and flora on the Montgomery Reservoir (water-tank in Karori).
  • Two Māori artists have been shortlisted to develop interior artworks at Tākina. The artwork is due for installation late March/early April.

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