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We’re halfway there!

Wednesday 16 November 2022 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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We’re halfway there!
Marae Moana staff Lucille Moreaux, Maria Tuoro, Kevin Iro, Gonzalo Aldana and Byron Brown (CIVS) . 22111405

The impressive Marae Moana seawall mural project is halfway to completion. And it’s still turning heads.

Work on the 562 metre seawall started some nine months ago - yesterday 320 metres of the eye-catching graphic art was completed.

The largest mural of its kind in the South Pacific, the art work captures the essence of the 15 islands of the Cook Islands,

Kevin Iro, ambassador for Marae Moana and 2022 Seacology recipient, says reaching the halfway mark is quite significant.

Two prominent leaders of the nation feature at the midway mark - the first Premier Albert Henry and former Prime Minister Sir Tom Davis.

“Both were great leaders who had strong hearts,” who advocated for a better future, said Iro.

Back in the 60s at a United Nations meeting, Albert Henry helped other small island nations push for the 200nm EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone), and Sir Tom Davis revived traditional voyaging and the reconstruction of the vaka, without their foresight and knowledge where would we be here today, said Iro.

There are two more of the Southern Group islands to be illustrated, Aitutaki is next up, followed by Palmerston which will complete the group.

Suwarrow will be the first of the Northern Group islands to be illustrated.

Rarotonga-based Mexican artist Gonzalo Aldana is the leading artist on the project, assisted by local artists Katu Teiti and Ashley Chaloner.

 “I’m very glad, it’s been really challenging because of the weather and other factors, and I’m really glad with the progress,” said Aldana on reaching the halfway mark.

Looking back at the beginning of the project, Aldana said. “Sometimes it’s funny, like when I’m pushing the cart with the paint first it was just five metres, then more, and now the walk is getting longer and longer compared to when we first started, it’s crazy…”

Aldana and the team have spent countless hours in the blazing sun and wind, and friendly traffic tooting by.

“When you see every character, you see that you spend hours on it, and when you see it complete it is definitely something epic, it’s definitely some to celebrate,” said Aldana.

 “Hopefully, weather permitting the end of the journey of the mural should be done by the next couple of months...”

Also exciting for Marae Moana is a ‘story board’ and the QR code (quick response code) - a type of two dimensional (2D) bar code that is used to provide easy access to online information through the digital camera on a smartphone or tablet, project which is underway.

It becomes an educating tool, kids can come here for school projects and learn up on things, and will inform and educate viewers on Marae Moana, the islands and species painted on the wall, said Iro.

Melina Etches