Artists show tank farm some love

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Bold plans to trans­form Wyn­yard Quar­ter’s tank farm with street art are still go­ing full steam ahead de­spite reser­va­tions from some peo­ple.

The waterfront project will see 71 tanks trans­formed by art­work com­mis­sioned from five artists.

How­ever, con­cerns have been raised by those who fear that when it comes time to re­move the tanks for re­de­vel­op­ment peo­ple might ob­ject be­cause they have grown to like them.

The idea that Auck­lan­ders may fight for ce­ment si­los over sought-af­ter open space has baf­fled two of the driv­ing forces be­hind the art project.

Art stal­wart Hamish Keith says the no­tion is ‘‘just a piece of silli­ness’’ from a small mi­nor­ity.

They may be brighter and bolder than ever but the painted tanks won’t be break­ing too many hearts when they are fi­nally re­moved for re­de­vel­op­ment, Mr Keith says.

‘‘The tanks are not go­ing to be here for­ever. The artists know that and the pub­lic know that, so the idea that in some strange way they’ll want to keep the tanks and do them­selves out of a park just be­cause they look good is quite silly.’’

The tanks are bounded by Hamer and Brigham streets and are pri­vately owned. They will be trans­formed with art as spon­sor­ship is gained.

Artist El­liot O’Don­nell, also known as Askew One, has al­ready painted eight tanks by North Wharf fea­tur­ing ex­cerpts from CK Stead’s poem Auck­land.

Spon­sor­ship is cur­rently be­ing sought to fund Christchurch-based artist Dar­ryn Ge­orge’s work which will adorn sev­eral large tanks.

Waterfront Auck­land’s chair­man Bob Har­vey says it is non­sense to think the project will stop the tanks from mov­ing one day.

‘‘Right now that time­line is 15 to 20 years away be­cause we can’t find a new home and there is no en­ergy to see them gone.

‘‘I would like to see them all painted and stun­ning – they are a stan­dalone art treat for Auck­land.’’

Mr Keith says


has al­ways tanks.

‘‘I’ve got to say that I was very pleased when Bob came to me and his ex­act words were ‘shall we touch the tanks with a bit of art love’.’’

They will be­come an in­creas­ing in­tru­sion on Wyn-




the yard Quar­ter as it de­vel­ops into a pub­lic space if they are ig­nored, Mr Keith says.

‘‘One of the really good things about this is ac­tu­ally recog­nis­ing the skills of street artists. This is street art, this is peo­ple, this is lively – it’s art not van­dal­ism.’’


Art love: Art stal­wart Hamish Keith plans to com­mis­sion four more artists to trans­form groups of tanks on Wyn­yard Quar­ter. Bright idea: Be­low, the team be­hind the Tank Art Project is look­ing for spon­sor­ship for Dar­ryn Ge­orge’s pro­posed new look for sev­eral large tanks.

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