Our Wellington

News | 17 May 2021

Street art gets to the heart of what makes Wellington great

Local artists with a love of Wellington are providing the city with a shot of vibrant colour as it shakes off the Covid blues and heads towards brighter times.

Image of City Artwork campaign on Harris Street by Xoë Hall, Miriama Grace-Smith and Gina Kiel
Image of City Artwork campaign on Harris Street by Xoë Hall, Miriama Grace-Smith and Gina Kiel

The Love Local: City Artwork campaign will use artworks by Xoë Hall, Miriama Grace-Smith and Gina Kiel – dubbed the Dream Girls’ Collective – to add visual vibrancy to areas in the CBD that are currently in a state of flux. This includes hoardings around building sites, empty shop windows and disused buildings.
 
First off the blocks is the fencing on Harris St, alongside the closed Te Matapihi ki te Ao Nui (Wellington Central Library), which has been adorned with the giant circular decals. The work was completed on Friday 14 May.
 
Wellington City Council Senior Arts Advisor – Projects Katie Taylor-Duke says “creative hoardings enliven areas of the city undergoing change and encourage people to slow down and take note of the wider environment.
 
“They present interesting sites for artists to occupy and can engage new audiences in their work.”
 
WellingtonNZ General Manager Anna Calver says enhancing the visual experience for locals and visitors is a proven way of boosting the buzz of a city.
 
“We aim to enliven the city, to tickle the imagination of people who stumble across areas that were previously looking a bit drab and tired so they feel a renewed sense of pride in Wellington.
 
“The artists based their designs on why they love Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington and what makes the place special for them. What they produced is a collectively stunning take on what makes Wellington such a wonderful place to live, work, play and visit.”
 
Xoë Hall focused on the local legend Taniwha of Te Whanganui-a-Tara. Ngake and Whataitai were ancestors to the original iwi of Wellington. Legend has it that they shaped the harbour when trying to break free to the ocean. One of them made it while the other got stuck and became what is known as Hataitai Hill.
 
Miriama Grace-Smith has taken inspiration for her illustrations from iconic Wellingtonian traits and activities such as the Lyall Bay surf beach, Zealandia, fruit and veg markets throughout the city and deep sea diving.
 
Gina Keil took aim at the special things found in Wellington’s landscape such as a bowl full of abundant offerings in our CBD which represents the hospitality scene, the weather, tides and moon.
 
Love Local: City Artwork is a collaboration between WellingtonNZ and Wellington City Council. It has a total budget of $60,000 which covers payment to the artists, printing of the artworks and installation.
 
The Love Local campaign was launched in March 2020, as the country was plunged into Level 4 Lockdown, with the initial aim of supporting local businesses by encouraging people to buy local.
 
Love Local also includes campaigns to encourage Wellingtonians and other domestic visitors to visit the Wellington region.