Rongotai to Miramar subway mural
Sea creatures and ships – real and imagined – have transformed the entrance walls of the subway that connects Rongotai and Miramar. Students from nearby Rongotai College, who are big users of the walking and biking tunnel beneath the airport runway, worked with artist Sheyne Tuffery and Paul Tobin from Weta Workshop to design and paint murals on the concrete entrances to the subway.
The new artworks are part of an upgrade of the subway which also includes better lighting, new security cameras and a cleaner, brighter interior.
Rongotai College art teacher Esmee McAuley says the project has provided an enormous opportunity for the students to learn more about digital and community art, work with practising artists, and to see and be part of a design process.
A senior class of art students from Rongotai College took part in a series of workshops to help plan the mural, and the proximity of the sea was a key theme. Others were Whātaitai and Ngake – the Māori legend of the creation of the harbour, the film industry, the airport, and likening the action of moving through the tunnel from one suburb to another to going on a plane journey, travelling from one time zone and place to another. The murals have sea-related themes – Rongotai draws on history and the real, while Miramar on the imaginary – myth, fantasy and humour.
Evans Bay marina - Māui Dolphin
Kelly Spencer, 2017
Kelly Spencer's mural depicts a giant Māui Dolphin standing as a bold, visual ode to their rapidly declining numbers. The process of gaining consent, approval, permissions, and funding (from both Wellington City Council Arts and Culture Fund and the Emerging Artists Trust) took Spencer approximately 6 months. Four days of this were spent painting the mural.
Bay Road - outside Countdown
Timon Maxey, 2013
The five mural panels, designed in consultation with local businesses and residents, depict different scenes from the surrounding area:
- a cyclist passing the Zephyrometer sculpture on Cobham Drive
- a cricket match at Kilbirnie Park
- Bay Road's heritage pohutukawa tree
- buses on a busy Kilbirnie street
- a ferry with a backdrop of the South Coast Kaikoura Ranges.
Artist Interview - Timon Maxey (41KB PDF)
Coutts Street — Memories of the tramway and Memories of the Rongotai Speedway
Sheyne Tuffery, 2015
These works pay homage to the Speedway once located where Rongotai College is and to the tram shelter, (now the bus depot).
Sheyne Tuffery sees himself as an amateur historian, looking into the history of a site, finding the stories of the place which in turn generate the ideas and themes for his murals.
“It was nice to be able to acknowledge the history of the tram and bus depot that’s been there for almost 100 years, but the biggest surprise for me was discovering that there was a Speedway right beside Rongotai College that opened in 1929 – how cool is that – I just had to put it up there.”