Fruits of labour celebrated

PUBLIC ART: Volunteers celebrate the soon-to-be completed horticulture mural on the wall of Super Liquor in Motueka’s High St.
PUBLIC ART: Volunteers celebrate the soon-to-be completed horticulture mural on the wall of Super Liquor in Motueka’s High St.

About a dozen of the 54 volunteers who helped paint a large mural depicting Motueka horticulture have celebrated its completion.

With images of fruit and hops above them, the painters snacked on biscuits and fruit juice as they made the final brushstrokes on the six-month project.

The mural is the third of nine planned by Vision Motueka to liven up the streets of Motueka.

The team has also completed murals showing the area's adventure tourism and history of industry.

Mural designer and project co-ordinator Sooyir Lammers said the goal was to capture the many crops that made up today's horticulture in the fertile Motueka area. She aimed to make it as colourful as possible and designed it so that people of varying ability could take part in painting it.

"Maybe kids start little with a green field. I wanted to make different challenges, with plain things as well as more complex ones."

She said although it had been great to have so many volunteers, many tended to be the same core group that had worked on the previous two murals. She hoped that "new faces" would show up for future murals.

"Once you are into it, it's fun and its something be really proud of," said Lammers.

Vision Motueka chairman David Armstrong said Lammers had been key to the project: "Without her drive it would not have been possible."

The muralists started work at Easter, but because the wall is south facing they could work for only three hours during weekends in winter. The project had a two-month break when the adjacent Z service station was being refurbished.

Armstrong said Z had been very co-operative and supportive of the project, including letting the painters store their supplies in a shed behind the service station.

"Without their help we couldn't have done it. It would have been a nightmare to get equipment in and out every day."

Armstrong said that after completing three murals in 18 months, he expected the remaining six murals to be done at a pace of one a year.

The muralists will turn now to either a mural about the Motueka River, to be painted on a wall of Whitwell's Menswear, or one on the history of transport in the area, on the side of Motueka Sprig & Fern.

The Nelson Mail