New mural at Opunake with weighty message

Phil Jones works on the detailing of a jellyfish.
Petra Finer

Phil Jones works on the detailing of a jellyfish.

Some of Opunake's drab beachfront buildings are undergoing a facelift.

New Plymouth artist Phil Jones is painting a concrete building into a work of art with an electricity safety theme.

Powerco​ has commissioned the Taranaki multi-media artist to paint a jellyfish-inspired mural on the outside of the building in front of the Opunake Beach Holiday Park.

Owned by the South Taranaki District Council (STDC), the building houses an 11,000 volt Powerco electricity transformer and associated equipment and cables.

READ MORE: * Plan announced for gallery of artworks on Opunake's coastal walkway

Powerco Group health safety environment and quality manager Julie McAvoy​ said the company was excited to be working with the STDC on the project and to have gained support from the Egmont Plains Community Board for the mural.

"With Opunake fast becoming a town known for art and public murals, we believe the high profile building on Opunake's beachfront is the perfect location for our latest safety art project," she said.

Powerco hoped the novel approach would help communicate the company's safety messages to the public, she said.

"Power networks have high levels of electricity running through them and people must stay away from all electrical equipment, such as transformers and especially downed power lines at all times."

In recent years, artworks associating the hazards of electricity with dangerous creatures – raging bulls, wolves, spiders and jellyfish – have been painted on a number of electricity transformers and buildings housing Powerco equipment in New Plymouth. The beachfront location in Opunake is seen as the perfect spot for a safety mural featuring jellyfish and bluebottles.

Egmont Plains Community Board chair Craig Dingle agreed.

"STDC and the Community Board are delighted to support this initiative from Powerco. It's a great example of a partnership project which enhances the township while also reinforcing Powerco's safety messages in a clever and colourful way."

Powerco is New Zealand's second largest electricity utility and largest gas distribution utility with around 435,000 consumers connected to its networks. Powerco's electricity networks are in Western Bay of Plenty, Thames, Coromandel, Eastern and Southern Waikato, Taranaki, Whanganui, Rangitikei, Manawatu and the Wairarapa. Its gas pipeline networks are in Taranaki, Hutt Valley, Porirua, Wellington, Horowhenua, Manawatu and Hawke's Bay.

 - Stuff

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