Grumpy cat may smile

00:36, Jul 05 2013
BLANK SLATE: Many readers told Central Leader they would like to see more artwork on the Big King water tower.

Watercare has had a change of heart in the discussion of public artworks being installed on a prominent Auckland reservoir.

In May the Central Leader published a story about graffiti-style art on the water tower atop Big King's volcanic cone that had been painted over by Watercare contractors.

The story elicited a large response from readers, many of whom were in favour of paintings such as the popular "grumpy cat".

Grumpy Cat
CELEBRITY CAT: Grumpy Cat is a social media phenomenon.

At the time a spokesperson for the water company said public art was outside of its operations of supplying water and waster-water services. However, Watercare has since softened its stance saying that it will consider applications for the installation of artworks on its assets.

"But only when approached with a robust proposal that includes formal backing from the community - via the local board or a similar organisation."

Puketapapa Local Board member Michael Wood says he would like to see the water tower beautified.


"From a personal point of view it absolutely makes sense to make it something that's more attractive and actually add some amenity through some kind of artwork." Mr Wood says the board has not yet discussed that matter but he aims to bring the issue to the table.

"The other thing we would want to do is a formal check-in with some of the other local community groups. My expectation is that people will be really supportive of something, based on what we have seen so far."

Mr Wood says the long term goal would be the removal of the water tower. However Watercare insists the reservoir is a vital piece of Auckland's water infrastructure.

A spokesman says it services about 5000 homes in the surrounding area.

"There are no plans to remove it, as to do so would cause widespread low pressure issues in the homes which it services."

Chairman of the Tamaki Collective Paul Majurey says it is looking forward to having a voice in the future of the maunga following its co-governance role as part of last year's deed of settlement.

Mr Majurey says the collective will be discussing with the Auckland Council the appropriateness of existing infrastructure on all 14 maunga that are included in the settlement.

"So the Big King is one of those that is going to come up for discussion," he says.

"The very clear, consistent and unified vision of the Tamaki Collective is the care and respect for the mana of those maunga as the fundamental starting position.

"There are a lot of activities and structures on those maunga and there are very strong views about the appropriateness of those."

Central Leader