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Nikao seawall mural continues to delight

Wednesday 11 May 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National


Nikao seawall mural continues to delight
Artists Gonzalo Aldana and Katu Teiti at the Te marae Moana mural on the seawall which depicts the Puaneinei flower in tribute to the late Joseph Brider. Photo: Melina Etches/22051005

Te Marae Moana’s bright ocean-themed mural at the seawall in Nikao continues to delight passing motorists, and yesterday 107 metres of the artwork was completed.

Rarotonga-based Mexican artist Gonzalo Aldana, who is largely undertaking the project with local artist Katu Teiti, said Rarotonga’s 37 metre section of the entire 562 metre seawall length is now done.

For the project, each of the Cook Islands has been allocated the same 37 metres each of the seawall, Aldana said.

The first mural section representation is Te Marae Moana, then the island of Mangaia (37 metres), and Rarotonga.

To finish off Rarotonga’s section, the Puaneinei (Rarotonga Fitchia) fragrant flower species which only grows on Rarotonga was painted on in a tribute to the late Joseph Brider, who had been a champion for biodiversity and the Director of the Cook Islands Natural Heritage Trust.

With Rarotonga being the capital and the most populated island, there are 46 characters which feature in its mural.

Next up for the artists is the island of Mauke, without giving too much away, the artwork will depict a famous legend, and local artist Clive Nicholas is collaborating with the motif designs.

Designing the ocean themed mural is no easy task, the first process is the investigation into the theme for each island, then its design putting all the “elements” together, writing the narrative and presenting it to Te Marae Moana committee for its review and green light to go ahead.

Teiti’s father was also an artist, “so art is something that just came naturally,” he said, and is enjoying working on the project and getting the feel back for art.

“Many people do appreciate the mural, and we have had offers from people of Nikao to help paint the wall white, so we are just waiting for their confirmation,” said Teiti.

Touching on the negative comments on social media and ‘coconut wireless’ about the “distracting” mural which may cause accidents, he said, “all that negative stuff and comments is not good, people should be positive about this beautiful artwork representing all of us, and also slow down and drive carefully”.

The mural will be the largest of its kind in the South Pacific, representing stories of each of the 15 islands of the Cooks, the work is a collaboration between multiple agencies, including the Cook Islands Government, and environmental advocacy group Seacology.