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A New Look for SH16

Updated: Feb 24, 2020

Learn more about the ideas behind this beautiful mural created by NZ Artist Tanya Blong on State Highway 16 in Huapai, North West of Auckland.

Creative Matters coordinated this project with generous support from the Auckland Council, in collaboration with Helen Smith, Graffiti Vandalism Advisor – Prevention & Enforcement, Community Empowerment | Arts, Community and Events

This old disused fruit shed situated on SH16 near Huapai NZ was identified as one of the few places in the North West of Auckland that gets tagged and vandalised with graffiti, creating a real eye-sore for this community.

We chose local Muriwai artist Tanya (also an educator with Creative Matters) to create the work as we felt her practice fitted well with the intention and location of the project, not only as a way to add colour and beauty but to tell a story of the history and environment of this area. Plus we LOVE her work!

Ivan Selak, winery director and winemaker, checking the sparkling Champelle in 1981. Photo / Babich Wines Archive

Dalmatian immigrants settled on this land and established their livelihood in the 1870s, planting vineyards and orchards that were nurtured for generations, creating a lasting Kaitiakitanga (guardianship and protection) of this place. Many came from the Croatian seaside village of Podgora, which is coincidentally where my husband's father Joe Jakich was from.

In this work, the female figure is set amongst the subtropical environs, her form bends and curves in a way that is suggestive of the land, perhaps a symbol of Papatūānuku (Mother Earth, the provider o nourishment and giver of life).

The cradling of a young Chardonnay sapling an indication of the relationship between the people and the land, balanced in giving and receiving.

We are hoping to create more public art in the North West of Auckland region and I have a dream of building a Public Art Trail in the area one day in the future. Get in touch if you have ideas or want to be involved!

With thanks to:

Auckland Council

Tanya Blong

Resene Paints

Recreational Services

ABC Paint Contractors

Izzy Harris

Kaia Jamieson

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