In September a Community Panel selected Greta Menzies mural design for the old Coin saver wall which is now part of Da Deals. In response to feedback from the community a local emerging artist Tangi Kopu was brought in to collaborate on the project, with Tangi’s role being to ensure a Maori element is weaved into the design.
Once the artists finalised their design it was taken to Kura Moeahu, Chair of Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa ki te Upoko o te Ika a Māui, to review and bless the design. The design references mana whenua, Te Atiawa’s story of the two taniwha who created the Waiwhetū and Te Awamutu rivers, as follows.
‘Naenae’ is derived from Te Ngaengae, which means ‘to cause effect through rupture’. The story of Naenae begins with Māui raising the fish Hāhā-te-Whenua, and his brothers cutting the fish and creating mountains, lakes and rivers. There was a freshwater lake where Naenae cemetery is now. Two man-eating taniwha dwelled there, and people were banned from going into the water because they would disappear. One day a child slipped in and the two taniwha raced towards the child and tore each other apart. Thus two rivers were created: Waiwhetū and Te Awamutu. Taniwha are unexplained phenomena, not necessarily the large monsters they are often represented as. Te Ngaengae could be ‘a volcanic activity underwater’. Maui’s fish was called Hāhā-te-Whenua – a reference to plates shifting under the water.
Naenae ‘was designed by the government architect to provide good housing close to factories, shops and the commuter rail line to Wellington. “It has always struck me as a special place in the history of New Zealand urbanism”, [Ben] Schrader says. “It was specifically designed as a place where people would come together and socialise and develop a sense of community. From a historical point of view, it’s really important as it’s the best example in New Zealand of that type of planning.” (‘Naenae has special place in NZ urbanism’, Hank Schouten, 08:19, Feb 10 2015 https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/65981161/null)
Kura Moeahu’s whakataukī gifted to this mural is as follows:
Hereherea ngā rau mānuka e kore whawhati
By binding the many mānuka together they will never be broken
This proverb talks about people coming together to support a cause. Rau mānuka is a play on words and reference to a hill located in Naenae called Raumānuka.
Work on Pikitia Pakitara will begin in December and an image of the design, story and themes will be shared in the Naenae Library throughout.
The key themes of this mural are energy, nature and community. Greta and Tangi aim to inject visual energy into Hillary court by painting a bold, colourful mural designed to complement a changing and developing Naenae, while referencing the area’s history and landscape.
The mural will include green plants, koru and symbols which are painted in a style similar to modernist artist Matisse’s cut paper drawings. This is a nod to the modernist architecture of Hillary court, which was Aotearoa’s first mall.
“With energetic, looping motifs that contain subtle kōwhaiwhai, the mural references the rivers in the story of Naenae (written above), and also the idea of interconnectedness and community. In Naenae there are so many different groups and cultures doing life with and around each other – you can’t help but cross paths and overlap with all sorts of people, that’s what makes it such a beautiful place” says Greta.
Make sure you come and check out their progress!
We would like to extend a massive thank you to both Resene Lower Hutt and Cathy and Xuan. Resene Lower Hutt have agreed to sponsor all paint costs and materials needed for the mural and Cathy and Xuan own the building and Da Deals shop and have kindly donated their wall to the Community for the mural.