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Dreaming of a colourful city

Lowe Street can hold its head high with the addition of a new mural, which brings volume and colour to the walls of The Spellbound Wax Company.

Local artist Kahurangi Ngata was in town for a summer spell after gaining a certificate at Whitecliffe College Of Arts And Design and had the urge to paint.

At the same time, Spellbound owner Deane Craw was thinking about a mural outside his record store.

Enter Kahu’s mother, Cleo, who just happened to have a studio behind Deane’s store. She connected the two and that was that.

“I wanted to add a bit of something to this street, it was very boring,” Deane said.

“The buildings are all flat and getting a bit derelict over there (pointing at the Masonic Hotel), and I thought it would be a nice addition to the street.”

After the pair got connected, Deane let Kahu go for it.

“Deane wanted something music-themed but otherwise it could be anything. I sketched some ideas, took some photos,” Kahu said.

Deane loves it.

“He’s done extremely well, I’ve had a lot of good comments about it,” Deane said.

“The street has been so neglected. It’s a thoroughfare but no one does anything here. It’s nice to be so close to town and encourage people to stop by.”

Kahu’s first mural was The Tui & The Kākā at Solander Cellars in Awapuni back in 2019.

His interest was piqued by mural work when he volunteered for the 2018 Sea Walls programme in Gisborne when artists descended on the city to throw up paint.

Sea Walls aims to foster emotional connections and drive positive action for our ocean with public artworks.

As much as he is an artist, Kahu is also a sailor, working on waka hourua around New Zealand with Te Toki Voyaging Trust.

The trust has two waka in Auckland and one in Kāwhia. They also help out a group in Napier who have a waka but sometimes need a hand.

His parents are both experienced on waka. His dad, Morgan, has travelled from Auckland to Te Tairāwhiti and his mum Cleo has travelled from New Zealand to Norfolk Island.

Kahu has the energy for a few more murals but has a job in Napier in January.

“I’d like to paint some more murals while I’m here. I’m just trying to figure out if I have enough time.”

ART FOR ALL: Artist Kahurangi Ngata was looking to paint some walls just as the owner of The Spellbound Wax Company was looking for an artist. Picture by Liam Clayton