A Tauranga woman who took advantage of the Covid-19 lockdown to create a heartwarming artwork on her front fence has been overwhelmed by its impact on the local community.

Blues, oranges and yellows pop from Mischelle O'Donnell's fence on Welcome Bay's James Cook Drive. Each plank also displays a letter, collectively spelling out "we're all in this together, he waka eke noa".

Mischelle O'Donnell and her painted fence. Photo / George Novak
Mischelle O'Donnell and her painted fence. Photo / George Novak

O'Donnell said she had wanted to get creative with her Welcome Bay fence for some time but it was the nationwide alert level 4 restrictions in response to Covid-19 that sparked the seed for what had become a community mural.

"The road I live on is very busy, usually, and I didn't want to distract drivers but, at the moment, it's real dead," she said.

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O'Donnell is an artist and said she wanted to inspire some goodness in the community, especially with so many people walking through the neighbourhood during the lockdown.

"I actually wanted to make a connection with the community as well. That's the whole thing about it. It's our fence, it's facing the public, they've got to look at it.

"While it's a fence that separates people, it's a fence that welcomes people ... we don't need those barriers."

O'Donnell said she began painting the fence with no specific design in mind. Rather, she felt her way.

Mischelle O'Donnell hopes her painted fence will help inspire the community to have fun. Photo / George Novak
Mischelle O'Donnell hopes her painted fence will help inspire the community to have fun. Photo / George Novak

"That's normally how I paint. It's that old way of working unplanned and following your emotions and feelings."

The response since had been "incredible". Photos of O'Donnell's fence have been widely circulated through social media and Tauranga community pages as hundreds have expressed support and gratitude for her efforts.

"It's been amazing. I actually expected a bit more negativity because a lot of people are that way. But only one had [been negative] and I would love for her to come with a paintbrush and have a paint and have some fun.

"We are all in it together."

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Earth Mother. A piece from artist Mischelle O'Donnell. Image / supplied
Earth Mother. A piece from artist Mischelle O'Donnell. Image / supplied

O'Donnell's fence is just one of several signs which have been created during the lockdown, helping spread positivity and support through visual means.

A whiteboard sign placed on a fence outside a property on 18th Ave - near the main entrance to Tauranga Hospital - is addressed to essential workers, thanking them for their work and displaying a love heart and teddy bear.

The sign reads: "Thank you for the work you do, it's much appreciated ... without you and without your care, our lives would be the dumps."

This sign on 18th Ave, near the entrance to Tauranga Hospital, thanks essential workers for all they do. Photo / Supplied
This sign on 18th Ave, near the entrance to Tauranga Hospital, thanks essential workers for all they do. Photo / Supplied

In Papamoa east, positive signs can be seen displayed from people's homes, with one example offering several messages including "Keep calm and stay positive" and "We've got this".

The signs come following a nationwide movement to place teddy bears in windows for people in the neighbourhood to see and enjoy.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website