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Kauri's legacy: A mural of hope and preservation

28 Mar 2024

Artist Romina Romero has unveiled her award-winning mural titled ‘Te Mauri o Tāmaki Makaurau (Life Force of Auckland)’ in the West Auckland suburb of New Lynn.

Romina was one of ten winners from across the country who took out the top prize in Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Resene Nature Mural Competition 2023.

The mural is located on the corner of Rankin Avenue and Margan Avenue in a busy New Lynn neighbourhood. Romina says the artwork is a celebration of the iconic landscape of the Waitākere Ranges in West Auckland and an ode to the kauri trees and their fight for survival.

“The central focus is on the kauri tree and the native flora it supports including ferns, kōwhai, pohutukawa, flax and Waitākere manuka flowers. The 22,400 kauri trees that make up the ranges are the life force of Auckland. Kauri is not only an integral part of Māori culture and faith but also a keystone species and an ecosystem engineer. They modify the soil under their canopy to create unique plant communities who depend entirely on them.”

Romina notes the increase in kauri dieback is a big threat to the Waitākere Ranges.

“People are the biggest cause of soil disturbance in the Waitākere Ranges and can transport the disease around the forest on their feet. The collection of plants in a New Zealand forest is unique, there is nothing else like it on earth. If we all take care of the ‘Great Forest of Tiriwa’ (Waitākere Ranges), in return we will all flourish.”

“Working on this artwork over the last month has been a delight. I’ve been blown away by the number of locals approaching me expressing their appreciation and sharing their own stories. I’m grateful to the Keep New Zealand Beautiful Resene Nature Mural Competition for supporting community beautification in New Zealand. I’m really happy with the final result and pleased it’s located in such a prominent location in New Lynn so lots of people can enjoy it.”

‘Te Mauri o Tāmaki Makaurau (Life Force of Auckland)’ is painted in Resene Blue Smoke, Resene Nebula, Resene Green Meets Blue, Resene Laurel, Resene Summer Green, Resene Calypso, Resene Awash, Resene Half Kumutoto, Resene Lip Service, Resene Cabaret, Resene Soothe, Resene Spitfire, Resene Golden Sand, Resene Gimblet, Resene Double Masala, Resene Double Stonehenge and Resene Bronco.

The Resene Nature Mural Competition, which is part of the Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Paint New Zealand Beautiful programme, ran from April to June 2023. Community members were called on to submit environmentally-themed mural designs to paint on a wall in their local community. Artists from around the country sent in their designs, with the top ten murals selected in June based on their environmental message, enhancement of the community, originality and creativity. Winners had up to 12 months to bring their mural to life.

Keep New Zealand Beautiful CEO Heather Saunderson says: “Our Resene Nature Mural Competition provides a great opportunity for artists to beautify their local communities. The beautification of public spaces greatly benefits communities by increasing civic pride, deterring vandalism and reducing anti-social behaviour such as littering and graffiti.”

“We were impressed with the dozens of high-calibre entries we received, so much so that narrowing the selection to just ten winners was a tough task! We’re thrilled to see the end result of Romina’s mural coming to life.”

Romina’s mural is located on the corner of Rankin Avenue and Margan Avenue in New Lynn, Auckland (opposite the Aussie Butcher).

View a map of all Keep New Zealand Beautiful’s Resene Nature Murals here.

And keep an eye out for the next competition starting soon!

Published: 28 Mar 2024