Mural celebrates Sunnynook community a year after floods

Publish Date : 30 Jan 2024
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A celebratory new public mural at the Woolworths Sunnynook in Wairau Valley has now been completed to commemorate the floods that devastated the area in early 2023.

The project was coordinated by Devonport-Takapuna Local Board member Melissa Powell, with the aim of delivering a tribute to the Sunnynook residents who helped each other during the floods.

The Sunnynook Flood Response Team, a group of community volunteers who helped in the aftermath, approved the design for the mural, which is themed around living in harmony with our natural environment and was created by local mural artist Regan Hill-Male.

“Essentially, it's a response to the damage from the flood, and the emotional load of that because Wairau was hit hardest in the floods. So, I wanted to create something that would lift people up and make the space nicer to be in,” Hill-Male says.

Community response to the mural has been overwhelmingly positive so far.

“I've had so many people walking past, tell me how much they love it, buying me coffees and asking to do business with me. And the opening celebration day in December was just like the cherry on top because we had Sunnynook Primary and Wairau Intermediate students drop through and I talked to them about my process.”

Take a look at a video from the celebration day courtesy of Woolworths NZ below.

Funding for the project came from local charity the Milestone Foundation and Woolworths Sunnynook who were approached by Powell to support the project.

“I've really only done half of the work here” explains Hill-Male. “Mel has done all the other stuff, meeting with the key sponsors, the landlord and council to make sure everything has been compliant, and I respect her so much because she really cares about this and has pushed to make it happen.”

Powell says that a key factor informing her work on the project was a desire to use her connections as a board member to support an emerging young local artist.

“I’ve learnt from my time working in youth mentoring from the legends Huia O’Sullivan, Bill Grayson, Dave Robertson, and Dr John Newman that every young person needs a supportive adult in their corner. I think this also applies to young people starting out in their career and I’m really pleased that Regan has received other work opportunities from the promotion of this mural.”

You can see the completed mural at the Woolworths Sunnynook on Sycamore Drive.

To see more work by Regan or to contact him about a project, visit his website.

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