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Jail artists liven up wall

Last updated 05:00 15/08/2012
Mural
LOOKING GOOD: Ngawha Prison’s manager of contract and services Mark Lynds speaks of the work behind Kaikohe’s newest piece of public art on Friday.

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Kaikohe has turned to Ngawha Prison to beautify its streets.

The prison, known for its art and culture programmes, has produced a five-panel mural depicting a historic figure and traditional food gathering from the region.

A small crowd gathered at the corner of Routley Ave and Broadway on Friday as the mural was installed on the side of the town's Subway franchise.

Bruce Gillies approached the prison's manager of contract and services Mark Lynds with the idea of bringing about a series of murals to liven the streets of Kaikohe.

“When I said I'd like Hone Heke Pokai, the Maori artists said ‘No, this building is an eating place,” Mr Gillies says. “'You don't put a warrior on an eating place'. So we put his wife on there."

The mural depicts Hariata and perhaps the type of food gathering she would have done.

Murals of Hongi Hika, Hone Heke and Heke's war are hoped for, Mr Gillies says.

"They have the artists there, they have some lovely art work out there, some lovely carving and so forth," he says.

"And also it's an encouragement for them to think that their work is being appreciated. It's good for them, it's good for the community."

Mr Lynds thanked Mr Gillies for the challenge to get the mural up in the public eye on Friday. "I'm a local and I love to see this up here too," he says.

"This project was actually started by the youth of this community.

"It's a combination of the community and the prison doing something together, to bring something back into the community."

Mike Shaw, who is involved in several recent community efforts to make Kaikohe a more vibrant town, says the mural installation does help to beautify the town.

He says the mural helps to make the town more welcoming.

"Something like that shows you care," he says.

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