Western suburbs

Murals from Thorndon to Karori.

A mural painted on the side of a building, of a woman holding a ball and two native birds watching.

Karori Electricity Substation, Donald Street, Karori

Keehwa Hong

Brightening the electricity substation on Donald Street (at the entrance to Karori Pool) you can find Keehwa Hong’s mural. Keewha’s design was inspired by the many different activities available on Karori’s back door-step from walking and mountain biking to Zealandia, which has nurtured the growth of many native bird and plant species.

A mural on a road side wall depicting colourful birds in flight.


Karori Road

Ruth Robertson Taylor and Ian Taylor with students from 6 Karori schools

This mural was developed by professional artists Ruth Robertson Taylor and Ian Taylor in collaboration with students from six Karori Schools – Samuel Marsden Collegiate, St Teresa’s, Cardinal McKeefry, Makara Model, Karori Normal and Karori West – and with advice and guidance from the Mural Steering Group comprising representatives from  Karori's wider community.

Ruth and Ian workshopped with the school students brainstorming ideas for the mural and investigating renowned NZ artist and Karori resident, Mervyn Taylor’s practice. The first thing that came to the students when thinking about their suburb was birds! Students also mentioned prominent built features like the tunnel, windmill, library and Futuna Chapel. Karori’s Māori history was discussed too, as it is widely believed to be a place that iwi travelled through to hunt for food. Students also talked of internationally renowned Wellington author Katherine Mansfield who grew up in Karori.

Ruth and Ian wove all those aspects – birds, architecture and people – into a design that tells the tale of Karori from its past to the present.

The design incorporates three painted layers. The first layer comprises large fluid grey forms that are directly inspired by shapes in many of Mervyn Taylor’s murals. They act as receptacles for the student’s work, which Ruth has superimposed in cream paint, taking care not to lose the authenticity of the student’s work.

The next layer is a series of huge, brightly coloured native birds often seen in Karori. While most of the birds are block colours, two have been rendered in black and white in more detail. These directly acknowledge and celebrate the work of Mervyn Taylor and Katherine Mansfield.

The final layer depicts Karori’s architectural features in gold and black and two quotes, one from Katherine Mansfield that reads: "I want to be all that I am capable of becoming", and another from Mervyn Taylor:  "As an artist I aspire to become a craftsman, and as a craftsman I aspire to become an artist".