News | 26 March 2019
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Wall of aroha in the heart of the city

A space is being created in Te Ngākau Civic Square where the public can express their feelings and messages of support through art and words.

Image of the space that will be used for the arts wall
Site being prepared for wall of aroha

Following the tragic events in Ōtautahi Christchurch on Friday 15 March, the people of Wellington have been asking for a space to draw or write messages to demonstrate their aroha.

The site that has been identified for this is on a section of the hoarding surrounding the Town Hall says Mayor Justin Lester.

“We recognise that the people of Wellington want a place to demonstrate their support and aroha for the Muslim community, migrants, and those from a refugee background. Council staff have worked with the community to create a safe, inner city space where the public can do this through artwork and written words.

“It’s also apt that it’s located in Civic Square as the te reo name Te Ngākau gifted to the area means the heart – the centre of the city for all ages, cultures, and gatherings.”

After the terrorist attack in Ōtautahi Christchurch, graffiti messages of support appeared around the capital. Given the outpouring of grief, Wellington City Council asked its contractors to show discretion around positive messaging in the public realm until we could come up with a solution – and now it has.

Council has commissioned local artist Greta Menzies to paint a message to be a permanent feature of the wall. The rest of the space will be painted with black board paint for the public to write messages in chalk. Chalk will be left out for people to use each day. Work on the mural will start this week, weather permitting, so will be available for the public to add their messages by the weekend.

Paint/tag/spray paint/graffiti is not for this site – if people want to use paint they can do so at the wind shield walls at Waitangi Skate Park.

The Te Ngākau Civic Square message site will be up for three months, but given it’s for chalk and works may be rubbed or rained off, we suggest people take a photo to record their creations. It will eventually be removed or painted over to make way for another series of artworks.

Wellington City Gallery is very supportive of the commemorative wall. Council’s Local Hosts and security guards will keep an eye on the site, and any messages containing objective material will be reported and removed immediately.