Hundertwasser bollards are back

By Alexandra Newlove

The Town Basin bollards are back.
The Town Basin bollards are back.

The country's most controversial bollards have been restored to a colourful state and the artivists behind them hope more will pop up around Whangarei.

Self-proclaimed "artivist" Heather Carthew had done things by the book this time round - getting permission from the Whangarei District Council to paint the dull green bollards "Hundertwasser style".

Ms Carthew and accomplice Glenda Ferguson made national headlines in late 2014, when they "H-bombed" the six council-owned bollards, painting them in vibrant colours, drawing the ire of WDC which immediately asked they be painted back to green.

"We waited for the [Hundertwasser] referendum dust to die," Ms Carthew said.

"Then I sent an email late last year saying: 'Seeing as it's no longer a political hot potato, is it possible we could have another go?' We basically just asked nicely."

In the lead-up to the June 2015 public referendum that gave the Hundertwasser Art Museum the go-ahead, bright murals and painted letterboxes popped up all over town and the use of colour "became a politically sensitive issue", Ms Carthew said.

Ms Carthew, chairwoman of the Town Basin Arts and Crafts House (The BACH), said at the time some councillors ("we won't name names") over-reacted to the artivism and took the view it was defacement of public property.

"It created an unbelievable Facebook and social media response," Ms Carthew said.

"This time round they've gone ballistic on Facebook again, it's gone nuts. It's to brighten up our little area - our neighbour tenants all sent supporting letters."

Ms Carthew had maintained her sense of humour despite wasting some money on paint. She said she would like to see more of the bollards around town - "though not if we have to do it for nothing, it's quite a chore!", she said.

The Hundertwasser Art Centre project would achieve a major milestone today, with the sod-turning of its folly building, Te Kakano.

- Northern Advocate

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