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South Taranaki artist Luther Ashford showcases award-winning mural

South Taranaki artist Luther Ashford showcases award-winning mural

South Taranaki artist Luther Ashford’s award-winning mural is now on display on State Highway 3 adjacent to the Old Patea Freezing Works.

Luther’s mural submission was one of ten winners chosen from across the country in the Keep New Zealand Beautiful (KNZB) Nature Murals Competition 2019.

The mural, titled “Mana Moana”, symbolises the unprecedented number of stranded whales in Taranaki over the past few years; the most recent being the discovery of a decomposing humpback whale just north of the region.

The completed mural also draws attention to the iron sand mining off the coast of Taranaki with the words: “Kaua e tumutumu te ara moana i Taranaki” and, “Desist from interfering with the oceans of Taranaki”.  The mural has created a lot of discussion within the local community including talks of further extending the ‘Keep New Zealand Beautiful’ message along with local narrative in more mural projects around the town.

In the design, the traditional tukutuku (diamond) pattern is associated with the abundance of resources, and Ashford says, in this case represents the bounties of our oceans in terms of ecological life and fossil fuel resources. The blue colour palette has been extracted from a photo of the proposed mining area from the coastal lookout point at Patea.

The Resene Nature Murals Competition, which is part of the Paint New Zealand Beautiful programme, ran from February to April 2019, with artists encouraged to submit mural designs which included an environmental message. Artists from around the country sent in their designs, with the top ten murals selected based on their environmental message, enhancement of the community, and originality/creativity. Winning designs receive a $1000 grant, along with a $750 Resene paint voucher and other materials to paint their mural.

KNZB CEO, Heather Saunderson, said: “KNZB is proud to partner with Resene again this year to deter vandalism and Paint New Zealand Beautiful. Numerous studies have shown the great impact murals have on their surrounding communities – from increasing civic pride, to a reduction in anti-social behaviour such as littering and graffiti.  Together with Resene, we’re excited to see Luther’s mural come to life and to help South Taranaki beautify their corner of New Zealand”.

Luther Ashford’s award-winning mural ‘Mana Moana’ in South Taranaki. 

The ten winning artists and regions are listed below, with their designs visible on the Keep New Zealand Beautiful website.

  • Yeon Seo Kim – Auckland
  • Sara Fernandez – Auckland
  • Luther Ashford – South Taranaki
  • Stan Mans – Hastings
  • Jil Sergent – Central Hawkes Bay
  • Isobel Te Aho-White – Wellington
  • Rosa Friend – Wellington
  • Hannah Starnes – Nelson
  • Madison Kelly – Dunedin
  • Claire Rye – Dunedin
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