Dolphin mural gone for good

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 13/02/2013
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Aaron Murfitt, left, and Cadd Murfitt paint over the Michael Smithers dolphin mural.
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The second version of New Plymouth's beloved Michael Smither dolphin mural has suffered the same fate as the first.

Yesterday morning the 12-year-old artwork along the large concrete wall which wraps around the corner of Dawson and Devon streets was painted over by tradesmen.

In 2000, Shell Todd Oil Services (STOS) commissioned Smither and a team of five art students to paint the mural after Smither's first effort on the wall outside the former RSA headquarters at Strandon was wiped out amid much controversy.

Smither, now based at Otama Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula, was saddened by yesterday's loss.

"The dolphin image was a thing of peace and interspecies communication," he said.

"It's a great shame but is no surprise.

"It's been on the cards for a while, the whole thing's falling to pieces."

STOS general manager Rob Jager said the artwork had been enjoyed for the past decade.

"After much discussion over several years with artist Michael Smither and his family, it was mutually decided not to refresh the mural as he now resides in Whitianga and would not be available locally to oversee the creative direction on a regular basis," he said.

There was a framed tribute in the STOS reception area to commemorate Mr Smither and the artwork.

"In the last few days the mural was painted over with Mr Smither's permission and we have no plans for any other artwork in this space," Mr Jager said.

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