Reser­voir cat gone

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By DANIELLE STREET

THE loss of a paint­ing of a grumpy cat has sparked a dis­cus­sion about the fate of one of Auck­land’s most prom­i­nent wa­ter tow­ers.

The dis­grun­tled kitty ap­peared on Big King reser­voir last year and quickly gained the ado­ra­tion of dozens of peo­ple who use the dog-friendly re­serve.

Even­tu­ally, like so much graf­fiti be­fore it, the cat was cov­ered over with grey paint.

Se­cu­rity cam­eras have also been in­stalled on one side of the tower to keep tag­gers at bay.

But the anony­mous per­son re­spon­si­ble for the grumpy cat paint­ing says the cam­eras only stop the peo­ple do­ing le­git­i­mate art­works.

‘‘It’s never go­ing to de­ter the ugly stuff, be­cause you can pull your hoody up and tag the en­tire thing in 30 sec­onds. But I can’t spend an hour up there paint­ing any- thing says.

The Mt Roskill res­i­dent has been paint­ing the tower with his pop-sur­re­al­ist pieces for about six years.

‘‘I’m just try­ing to make my neigh­bour­hood more in­ter­est­ing for me,’’ he says.

‘‘I’d cover that thing in paint if I could.’’

He says it is un­for­tu­nate

nice

any­more,’’

he that Water­care, the com­pany re­spon­si­ble for the reser­voir, can­not make the dis­tinc­tion be­tween art and tag­ging.

‘‘I know that peo­ple re­ally loved the grumpy cat piece in par­tic­u­lar.

‘‘Dozens of pho­tos of it have been posted on­line by other peo­ple and it’s been viewed about three mil­lion times from what I can count,’’ the artist says.

A spokesman for Water­care says deal­ing in pub­lic art is out­side the com­pany’s op­er­a­tions.

‘‘The cat pic­ture might be cute to some mem­bers of the pub­lic but to oth­ers it might be hor­ri­ble,’’ he says.

‘‘As a wa­ter com­pany it’s a de­bate we don’t want to get into.’’

Any graf­fiti will be treated as van­dal­ism and re­moved.

Kate Bukowski runs a Face­book group called ‘‘Make Big King a Bet­ter Dog Park’’ and says a large num­ber of her on­line com­mu­nity voiced their love for grumpy cat.

‘‘Most of them wanted the art­work to be left so it could grow.

‘‘Peo­ple are in con­sen­sus that they liked the art but they don’t like the graf­fiti,’’ she says.

Ms Bukowski says ide­ally the wa­ter tower would be re­moved from Three Kings’ only re­main­ing moun­tain, but in the mean­time art­work would help beau­tify the un­sightly reser­voir.

Puke­ta­papa Lo­cal Board mem­ber Michael Wood says the board also wants to get rid of the reser­voir.

‘‘That’s some­thing that we picked up on that the com­mu­nity wants as part of rein­vig­o­rat­ing the moun­tain.’’

Mr Wood says any mu­rals on the tower would have to be worked through with Water­care and be sub­ject to pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion due to the prom­i­nent lo­ca­tion.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Greyed-out: The artist who painted the much-loved grumpy cat has spent many hours cre­at­ing art­works, only to have them cov­ered over by Water­care.

Celebrity cat: The grumpy cat graf­fiti gained fans around the globe due to its sim­i­lar­ity to kitty in­ter­net celebrity Tar­dar Sauce.

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