Murals by local artists give mall a new lease on life
The front of Waitangirua Mall is getting a facelift thanks to local artists, as part of a desire from mall owners and the city council to make the building more attractive.
The mall has been derided over the years for the amount of graffiti that covers it, but the opening of the new children’s playgrounds and murals on the side facing Natone Park School have given Porirua City Council’s graffiti reduction co- ordinator Richard Witheford-Smith plenty of hope.
While the cost of the 10 murals going up this week have come from his budget, the mall’s owners have been very supportive, he says.
‘‘ The owners are completely renovating the old community hall, so it can be used again and there will be several new businesses opening soon. The artwork is a celebration of Waitangirua, giving some real colour to the building. It’s a great opportunity for the artists to come together and give it a new lease on life.’’
Mr Witheford-Smith used his own contacts and those of project co- ordinators Ruth RobertsonTaylor and Ranga Tuhi to employ a range of artists. From Ian Taylor’s Van Gogh-inspired mural on Waitangirua’s two rivers to wellknown spraypaint artist Antz June’s colourful take on culture and youth, there is plenty of styles used.
Nestor Opetaia says being involved was a ‘‘ huge opportunity’’. His mural incorporates Pacific colours and the importance of food in their lives. Olivia Giles, meanwhile, wanted to highlight the strength of Ngati Toa women on her section of the mall’s wall.
Ms Robertson-Taylor hoped the project would have the same effect as the art displayed in Porirua’s railway station – contributing to a positive, safer atmosphere.
Mall art: Antz June gets into his work on his part of the Waitangirua Mall wall, with his desire to ‘keep it bright’ coming through.