Richard Moore: Chalk this one up to Owen

By Richard Moore


When someone told me that Tauranga had decided to let local spraycan expert Owen Dippie put together 15 giant copies of Renaissance artworks I had to pinch myself.

Not only did I think I was dreaming and had to be woken, but I had to wonder if I was still in the Bay of Beaches!

It was a great idea.

Not only in terms of livening up the somewhat drab Tauranga cityscape, but also being something tourism folk can sell.

Come to Tauranga and not only lie on the sands but, when you are bored with that, here's a tour of the pinnacle of Western art history sprayed large on our walls.

Absolutely brilliant.

Now, as I have come to expect here, as soon as someone comes up with a terrific project a horde of would-bes emerge from the woodwork screaming "I want to do that too" or "But it isn't local art".

After that it will be: "Why does all the money go to one artist?" and "It's not culturally sensitive". Or the ubiquitous "We can't afford it."

Some friends involved in the art world and I were discussing the project and they thought that maybe Dippie could have taken work by Bay artists and enlarged that for the murals.

Maybe later on, I suggested, as what Tauranga needs is a big, bold statement and a cohesive series of one type of work to make the murals a major attraction.

Artworks from our excellent local artists could follow, together with sculptures in public places.

And such artworks will attract tourism. Carterton in Wairarapa has a series of murals on their buildings that are fine, but wouldn't match the grandeur of Dippie's project.

And, of course, our own Katikati benefits from lovely murals and is known as Muraltown.

This Renaissance murals project is an excellent idea with many future benefits to our city and our council must not be swayed, nor diverted, from it by the many wheels squeaking in their own self interest.


Ah, Mother's Day, a time to celebrate mothers around the world in a caring way.

Many people take the old girl out to brunch or lunch, send her flowers or choccies, or pop around and sample some of her baking and have a natter.

But for some, Mother's Day is not so pleasant, as one woman found out in an Auckland supermarket the other week.

There she was in the checkout lineout when she was asked what she got her mother for the day.

Not really wanting to be dragged into conversation about it she said: "Oh, we don't really celebrate it in my family."

There was tut-tutting from the others in the queue and not a few murmurings before the hyena pack said it was shameful she wasn't buying something for her mother as it was a special day.

After a couple of minutes of this treatment, the lady was getting pretty peeved by the comments and turned to the nearest badgerers and said very loudly: "We don't celebrate Mother's Day in my family - because my mother died 15 years ago!" The pack quickly shut up and looked suitably embarrassed.


Retail mantra says the customer is always right but that wasn't quite the case recently in a local eatery.

A pal of mine who was dining out with a group of friends felt like a steak and so ordered one "ruined".

By that he meant cooked to the point there were no juices in it - as he cannot stomach blood in red meat.

I know for most steak lovers medium rare to rare is the way to go but each to their own, I say.

When the meal came back he said it was "rare".

A request was made for it to be cooked further and, when it came back, it was better but still not nuked. Diner X told me he almost couldn't eat it but, at around $40, thought he should make the effort.

When his friends asked about the meal he admitted being unhappy about the way his steak had been cooked.

They in turn were asked by the staff how they enjoyed their meals and, when told about his comments, one staffer said: "Well maybe he shouldn't eat steak then."

I don't know about you guys but that makes me want blood.

Here is a person paying good money for food to be cooked in a particular way and it doesn't matter if it won't taste as good - it's what he blinking well wants.

Richard Moore is an award-winning Western Bay journalist and photographer.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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