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Kāpiti welcomes artist for stunning new mural

6 May 2024, 11:30 AM

Work on a new mural that celebrates the Kāpiti Coast’s ecology and the waka that travelled on its waters has started in Raumati Beach. 

Renowned artist Taupuruariki (Ariki) Brightwell (of Rongowhakataa, Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Tahitian and Rarotongan descent) will transform the wall near the entrance of the Raumati Bowling Club with a bright and vibrant mural. 

Tuna Heke will depict tuna (freshwater eels) leaving a river to migrate to Te Moana Nui a Kiwa (the Pacific Ocean) to breed in the Tonga Trench. 

Taupuruariki Brightwell will be joined local rangatahi in the creation of the mural and her father, esteemed master carver and Tohunga Tarai Waka (master traditional canoe builder) Matahi Brightwell ONZM, will also contribute. 

Taupuruariki says the mural focuses on river ecosystems and the creatures endemic to them, the legacy of waka in the area and the resources that made the Kāpiti Coast vital land to inhabit by iwi past and future.  

“It is a reminder of the environmental impacts and the dwindling tuna population now at risk - to spread awareness to look after our rivers,” she says.

Image: Youth Council member Santino Morehu-Smith, left, gets some tips from visiting artist Taupuruariki Brightwell as work on a new mural in Raumati progresses. See larger image

“It will also include representations of other species, and designs depicting the adze marks of a waka hull, signifying our carving prowess.”

The mural was commissioned by Council and the Kāpiti Youth Council. The design continues the mountains to sea theme Council has been taking with public art in Kāpiti.

Iwi Partnership Manager Deanna Rudd says: “We’re delighted to have Taupuruariki, who has connections with Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai, Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Toa Rangatira, here to do this wonderful work with the blessing of Ātiawa ki Whakarongotai.”

Acting Culture and Creativity Manager Pru Simpson says: “The design is bold, bright and beautiful and will add vibrancy to the Raumati Beach area. We’re very lucky to have two generations of the Brightwell whanau involved in what will be a community taonga for years to come.”

Youth Council coordinator Evalina Brunoro-Beilman says they wanted a work to tell a story of the Kāpiti environment, especially the Wharemauku Stream, and history.

“This is a fantastic way of showcasing what is special about Kāpiti that can be enjoyed by everyone,” Ms Brunoro-Beilman says.

“Our rivers and streams are so important and anything that shines a light on them is awesome.

“The fact that some of our rangatahi are helping with the mural’s creation is an extra bonus, and we’d like to thank Taupuruariki for allowing this opportunity.”