News | 4 December 2023
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Our Wellington this summer: A tribute to Thorndon Pool

For Wellington artist Hannah Webster, the iconic Thorndon Pool is the epitome of summer in the capital city.

Wellington artist Hannah Webster holding the Our Wellington magazine and the original painting she did of Thorndon Pool for the cover. Her cat is asleep beside her on the desk.
Hannah Webster and her cat, Beluga.

That’s why she chose to paint it for the cover of the latest edition of Wellington City Council’s quarterly magazine, which was delivered to households last week.

Hannah, who works from her Berhampore-based studio, was approached by the Council to design the cover of the summer edition of Tō Tātou Pōneke – Our Wellington, as a way to show support for local artists. 

“I was thinking of the places where you go in summer,” says Hannah. “Thorndon Pool is only open in the summertime, and it was the most summery place I could think of!

“Thorndon pool's vibe is just very inclusive, very chill, come as you are. Plus everyone is happiest when they're outside, right?”

A keen swimmer who visits the Thorndon Pool once or twice a week during the open season, Hannah dug out a photograph she had taken there a few years back on Redscale film.

“I’d loved that image ever since. I found that photo again and it was perfect with what I was trying to convey.”

Hannah sketched it out in pencil first, then colour pencil to get the colours right, then created a watercolour before doing the final artwork in gouache.

“I don’t often work digitally, I do everything by hand,” she says.

Council Community Pools Manager Amy Carter says it’s great to pay tribute to Thorndon Pool as it approaches it’s 100-year anniversary.

“The Thorndon Pool as we know it today on Murphy Street was built in 1924. It has served the community for almost a century and is a favourite spot for many locals.”

The Council’s Manager of Recreation Facilities, Mathew Bialy agrees, saying Hannah’s artwork is fantastic and really portrays the feeling of a great summer day in Wellington, making it perfect for the cover of the latest Our Wellington magazine.

When Thorndon Pool first opened it used salt water, but then became chlorinated and heated and was a place of luxury for locals who would swim and then enjoy the sunshine on the terraced seating.

The pool still has many ties to its past with original tiles and brass railings around the outside of the interior. And the original plaque from the opening can still be seen at the pool.

While it is only open in summer, the pool is still cherished by the community, who will brave any Wellington weather to go for a swim – including Hannah!

Hannah, a born Wellingtonian, says she has been doing art and creative endeavours “forever”, and was lucky enough to be taken to art classes after school when she was a child.

“I’ve been drawing ever since. It’s an easy, cheap, accessible thing which you can do anywhere.”

A hand holding a paintbrush over a bright watercolour painting of an outdoor pool.

Hannah also works in the film industry as a textile artist or designer either in the costume or art department.

She studied Textile Design at Massey University, majoring in weaving, and is now focused on working with wool.

She spent a stint of her childhood living in Australia, but is loving being back in her hometown of Wellington, which provides the inspiration for much of her art. 

“The hills are so cool. The bush that’s everywhere is really special and unusual for a capital city.”

Hannah says she is a keen walker and gets most places by foot or bike, so is appreciating the new shared bike and pedestrian paths that are popping up around Pōneke.

Check out Hannah’s art on her website ( or follow her on Instagram @forestdrawn.

Pick up a copy of Our Wellington – Tō Tātou Pōneke from the following Council sites: Te Awe Library, Arapaki Service Centre, Waitohi Community Hub, Tawa Library, Newtown Library, Ākau Tangi Sports Centre, Wellington Regional Aquatic Centre, and the Wellington I-SITE on Wakefield Street.