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First instalment of murals

Two new murals are under way in Gisborne’s CBD in the first instalment of Project Ataahua’s mural festival.

The award-winning Young Enterprise Scheme team from Gisborne Girls’ High has commissioned three murals, and they will be completed and ready to view around the beginning of May.

Project Ataahua chief executive Nitha Vashti said they saw an opportunity to enhance the region through public art.

“Through working with artists with a connection to Gisborne, we were able to commission murals that had a strong local story, invoking our main theme of journey.”

The first mural is at the Bright Street entrance of the HB Williams Memorial Library, created by artist Lina Marsh.

This mural is a collaboration project between Eastland Network, Gisborne District Council and Project Ataahua.

It is due to be completed in the next couple of weeks.

The second mural has begun on the Eastland Network Plunket transformer building, next to the Plunket building on Palmerston Road.

Gisborne artists Simon Lardelli and Steve Smith are each painting two sides of the building.

Smith said his work will become a landscape of connectiveness and would be made up of designs from different cultures.

“There will be tonal variations, with some of it faded to represent the distant past.”

He will incorporate things from the marae and bring it to the street.

“I hope people will interact with it and take photos of it once it is finished. The design is made up of symmetry, reflection and rotation.”

Eastland Network general manager Brent Stewart said the Plunket building was due to have routine maintenance but with its size and location right on the river, they realised it provided the perfect blank canvas for a meaningful artwork.

“I’d like to thank everyone who has worked to get the building ready for Simon and Steve — we all look forward to seeing the finished result. We congratulate Project Ataahua for bringing their vision to life across the city, for the enjoyment of the whole community.”

A third mural is due to be completed by Taupuruariki (Ariki) Brightwell, who was brought up in Gisborne. Brightwell is painting her ancestor Heeni Tawarwa Tekawhena — a direct descendent of Rongowhakaata. The figure is regal and commanding against a background of red, black and white.

“I want to dedicate the mural to her because she was such a definitive leader of Rongowhakaata,” she said.

This mural is happening at the Gisborne Skate Park, run by Te Ora Hoa.

The mural materials were sponsored by businesses including Resene, Hirepool and Eastland Scaffolding.

Project Ataahua received a $20,000 grant via the Eastland Community Trust Community Resilience — Major Fund.

ECT chief excutive Gavin Murphy says the trust is proud to support young entrepreneurs like the Ataahua team, who are putting in the work to help make Tairawhiti a more attractive place.

“Something that stuck out to us was Project Ataahua’s focus on dual heritage and their commitment to telling the history of the region through their murals.

“Not only are they making Tairawhiti more beautiful and fostering their skills as young businesswomen, but also they are helping to create a more inclusive region.

“We look forward to seeing the finished murals for many years to come”

For more information about Project Ataahua, visit their website www.projectataahua.nz


Taupuruariki (Ariki) Brightwell with Cam Morrell, Nitha Vashti, Kate Plummer and Kaea Gillman from Project Ataahua, and ECT community engagement manager Audine Grace-Kutia at Gisborne Skate Park. This is the third mural Project Ataahua has commissioned as part of their mural festival. Pictures by Liam Clayton
Artists Steve Smith and Simon Lardelli beside a mural that will cover all four walls of the Plunket substation near the Peel Street bridge. Nitha Vashti (front) is the chief executive of Project Ataahua, which is commissioning the artwork.
Project Ataahua mural at skate park. Taupuruariki (Ariki) Brightwell