Andy Olah from Timberland building supplies phoned me the other day to say the bus shelter outside the Edgewater was originally sponsored by his company and recently he was approached to replace some rotting floorboards
The work was done and the cream paint that I saw as an “eyesore” is actually the undercoat. The plan is to ask art students from Tereora College to design a cultural design to paint on the blank cream canvas.
This is fantastic news and I look forward to seeing the final result. It got me thinking about the other bus shelters around the island. Perhaps they, too, can be painted in local designs from the young talent we have on the island, to showcase their art and design.
Leigh from the Red Gallery opposite the Punanga Nui market also contacted me and gave me some of the Christmas cards she has for sale at her gallery. These show the flamboyant tree in full flower above the Edgewater bus shelter, which is painted in the original colours I wrote about.
They are a great record of this wonderful iconic scene at Christmas time and I urge you all to grab one for your own decorating. While Leigh and I chatted we talked about how we could put ourselves on the tourism map with something new and unique and our art work could do exactly that.
We discussed how places like Tirau in New Zealand have made names for themselves with the corrugated iron art work that features on many of the town’s shops and businesses. There are places in Canada and the US with art works depicting subjects such as large cows or bulls made out of recycled cans or plastic, painted lots of different colours and with designs that draw tourists in.
We imagined our commercial buildings and government buildings covered in artwork depicting culture in the same way as the wall outside the environment building or the library opposite the USP.
Instead of graffiti we could have a mural depicting our heritage and the arrival of people from Samoa and Tahiti, painted along the long sea wall at the end of the runway.
Art and colour would be a beautiful addition to our community and would uplift our cultural mana and values.
That way, we locals will benefit and our visitors can enjoy and learn from it as well.