Raglan has a significant piece of new art to admire, which embodies the spirit of the town and its people.
Simon Te Wheoro, a local contemporary artist, has created a huge mural to adorn the outside of the library and council office building, as the final stage in the Placemaking project for the building.
The 5.5 metre by 1.5 metre mural, named Ngunguru I Te Po, I Te Po, was officially unveiled and blessed by local kaumatua at a ceremony outside the library and council office on Friday.
Simon, who grew up in Raglan and attended Raglan Area School, said the sunset in the three-dimensional mural acknowledged the essence of those who had passed away, in particular fellow RAS students he had known: “May their memories be forever with us,” he said.
Against a backdrop of Mount Karioi, the native birds were a reference to the current generation and to all the travellers drawn to Raglan, while the waves depicted the future tamariki and the sea life acknowledged the kaitiaki [guardians].
“To sum it all up, it’s an acknowledgement of your past, present and future generations,” he said.
Simon was asked to create the mural by the Raglan Placemaking group, which made the interior furnishings for the new library space as part of a movement to beautify public places.
He spent six months working on the mural off and on, helped by his eight-year-old daughter, Taimania. Now that it was done, he felt “very happy, humble and privileged to have my mahi [work] up there”.
Speaking at the opening, Raglan Ward councillor Clint Baddeley said he was “blown away” by Simon’s mural, the placement of which signified how the library and council office building was a critical gathering point for the community.
Funding for the project came from the Raglan Community Board (RCB), the Waikato District Council and local sponsor, Grant Cushman, said RCB member Bob McLeod.
“Everyone puts in a little and you get a large number of things done,” Bob said.