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Ahuriri Estuary underpass mural blessed by local kaumatua


Cyclists riding through the underpass at the Ahuriri Estuary bridge near Watchman Road roundabout will now be able to enjoy the newly-completed 30-metre mural adorning the bridge.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency marked the completion of the mural early on Monday morning with a blessing, which was jointly organised with Tania Evans, General Manager of Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui-a-Orotū. The blessing itself was led by local kaumatua Hōri (George) Reti.

The mural was produced by local artist Christie Wright who was tasked with designing art that would complement Māori landscape structures installed at Watchman Road roundabout and highlight the surrounding wetland’s wildlife, flora and fauna.

“Christie has transformed the site beyond our expectations and produced a wonderful mural that everyone cycling or walking along the underpass will appreciate,” Regional Transport Systems Manager Oliver Postings says.

“The Ahuriri Estuary is one of the most significant bird habitats of its type on the east coast of the North Island. Over 70 resident and migratory bird species feed and rest here, including the pied stilt.

“Over the years the Ahuriri Estuary bridge has been marred by vandalism and graffiti, so we’re pleased to be able to brighten it up with beautiful artwork that truly reflects the area, including the birds that inhabit the estuary.”

Ms Wright attended Monday morning’s blessing to talk about the mural.

“It was one of most challenging pieces, with a long length, the wind tunnel effect and a very damp environment as the underpass is tidal,” she said. 

Ahuriri Estuary underpass mural blessed by local kaumatua

Left to right: Christie Wright (artist), Hōri (George) Reti (kaumatua and chairman of Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui-a-Orotū), Vicki Butterworth (Hawke’s Bay Regional Council), Jennifer Wilson-Kaio (NZTA), Tania Eden (General Manager, Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui-a-Orotū), Oliver Postings (NZTA) and Larry Weller (NZTA).


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