Prime Minister Mark Brown and artist Gonzalo Aldana take a stroll along the 562 metre Marae Moana seawall mural at the official opening yesterday. MELINA ETCHES/23122012
Access through the Nikao seawall road was closed off yesterday as a refreshing light sun shower sprinkled down, marking the historic blessing and official unveiling ceremony of the stunning Te Marae Moana Ocean and cultural themed seawall mural, and the striking new “Te Pou Tūtoru” (Three Pillars) mural by Airport Authority.
The vibrant seawall mural stretches across 562 metres
and showcases all 15 islands of the Cook Islands, detailing significant marine
and bird species, people, and characteristics unique to each island.
Before its wonderful transformation by Mexican artist
Gonzalo Aldana, whom the Cook Islanders have affectionately “adopted”, the
former dull and grey seawall was known locally as the scene of many tragedies,
accidents, and the odd ghost stories.
Following the formalities, Prime Minister Mark Brown
and Aldana took a leisurely stroll along the entire wall.
The new unveiled “Te Pou Tūtoru” (Three Pillars) Airport Authority mural painted by local artist Tuaine “Katu” Teiti (left) with the assistance of Laurie DeFrain Stemm. They are pictured with Prime Minister Mark Brown (left). MELINA ETCHES/23122007
“It’s wonderful, it’s been a labour of love for those
involved in it,” Brown said.
“The seawall has been transformed from being a bare
grey wall to keep out the sea, into telling a story about our country, our
ocean, all of our islands, our history. It is really well done.
“It’s really nice that the seawall is showcased like
this, it’s beautiful and nice to see it transformed into something more
Aldana expressed his gratitude, saying, “I feel
absolutely grateful and glad that the work is finally complete.”
“It wasn’t just about beautifying the long wall, it
was about the background, the soul, the culture, the people of the Cook
Aldana painted the mural with local artists Ashley
Chaloner and Katu Teiti, who worked on “Te Pou Tūtoru” (Three Pillars) art