Award-winning mural unveiled on Dargaville Public Library wall

Northland artist Micaela van den Berg unveiled her new award-winning mural, titled ‘Sunrise’, in a small ceremony at the Dargaville Public Library last week.

Micaela was one of ten winners from across the country who took out the top prize in Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Resene Nature Murals Competition 2022.

The library held a small ceremony with a formal blessing, to bless both Micaela’s mural and an existing ‘He Tohu o Ngā Hau e Whā’ artwork, that was created for the building in 2007 by Manos Nathan. The new mural, which features a tui atop harakeke/flax with a stylised sunrise in the background, graces a full exterior wall of the Dargaville Library, Northland and faces one of the town’s main roads.

Micaela’s inspiration for the design was to make something bright for her town as well as her local library. “I adore libraries,” she said, “and our one is truly incredible with some amazing, wonderful staff who make this public space such a pleasure.”

Micaela says, “There is quite a strong community of photographers here, and I see so many beautiful photos of the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets over the Wairoa River and Kaipara hillside.” Her mural is a tribute to that, with an iconic New Zealand songbird to herald it.

“It’s about bringing the community together, and giving them something to smile about.”

In a post, the library said they were excited to have the mural on the building, and hope it inspires many more local creatives to make their artistic mark in town.

Micaela used a large selection of Resene paint colours including Crusoe (a deep green), Sunrise (orange/peach), Jalapeno (deep maroon) and Banana Split (bright yellow). In total Micaela used nearly two dozen separate Resene colours, from testpot size to full tins of paint, to create the mural.Last week, acclaimed Porirua artist Leon Hohepa unveiled his new award-winning mural ‘FUTURE GENERATIONS’, that now graces a wall in Cannons Creek Park, Porirua.

Leon, a contemporary Māori artist, was one of ten artists from across the country who took out the top prize in Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Resene Nature Murals Competition 2022, to paint a mural with an environmental theme or message and to help beautify an area.

The mural (shown below) depicts a pheasant with its chicks, many of which can be seen on the local tracks and trails; Māori patterns which represent the passage of time; and the quote “We haven’t inherited the Earth from our parents, we’ve borrowed it from our children”.

Leon says the mural design was inspired by the surrounding Cannons Creek Park, a popular sports ground and park that connects to other reserves, which he frequently visits and enjoys with his family.

Leon utilised a variety of hard-wearing Resene Lumbersider paints for the mural, making his custom tints to get the colours he was after. “I buy white [paint] and big containers of the primary colours, and mix my shades myself”. He completed the mural in three days.

The design is located on the building at Cannon Creek Park, Porirua, facing the sports fields. The mural covers approximately 24sqm and was approved by Porirua City Council to be painted.

SUNRISE by Micaela van den Berg

About the Resene Nature Murals Competition
The Resene Nature Murals Competition, which is part of the Paint New Zealand Beautiful programme, ran from April to June 2022. Community members were called on to submit mural designs, which include an environmental message, for a wall to paint in their local community. 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. Winners then have 12 months to bring their mural to life.

Winning designs receive a $750 Resene paint voucher and other materials to paint their mural, receive a $1,000 grant upon completion

Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO, Heather Saunderson, says: “Our Resene Nature Murals Competition provides a great opportunity for artists to beautify their local communities. In its sixth year, this competition continues to grow in popularity and we’re always so impressed with the calibre of entries we receive that narrowing down the selection to just ten winners is getting harder and harder. We’re so excited to see these murals come to life, knowing how the beautification of public spaces greatly benefits communities by increasing civic pride and deterring vandalism and anti-social behaviour such as littering and graffiti.”

The ten winning artists and regions are listed below. You can view the winning designs here.

  • Micaela van den Berg, Sunrise, Kaipara
  • Brigita Botma, Harmony, Auckland
  • Carol Green & Kim Littlejohn, Bringing Nature to the City, Auckland
  • Corey Harbrow, Keep NZ Beautiful, Christchurch
  • Danny Owen, Nature, Invercargill
  • Leon Hohepa, Future Generations, Porirua
  • Matt Russell, Resilience, Wellington
  • Paranika Dudley Heeth, The Return of Nature, Auckland
  • Shann Whitaker, The Interconnection of all Living Things, Mangawhai
  • Vanessa Barclay, The World is in Our Hands, Cambridge

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