The cycleways across the landscape of the Ahuriri Estuary have just become a lot more colourful with a 30m mural now adorning the underpass at the estuary bridge near Watchman Rd.
The mural was designed and created by local artist Christie Wright who was tasked with designing art that would complement Māori landscape structures installed at the Watchman Rd roundabout as well as highlighting the surrounding wetland's flora and fauna.
It was no straightforward task, as she explained.
"It was one of most challenging pieces, with a long length, the wind tunnel effect and a very damp environment as the underpass is tidal."
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Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency marked the completion of the mural early on Monday morning with a blessing, which was jointly organised with Tania Evans, general manager of Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui-a-Orotū.
The blessing itself was led by local kaumatua Hōri (George) Reti.
"Christie has transformed the site beyond our expectations and produced a wonderful mural that everyone cycling or walking along the underpass will appreciate," regional transport systems manager Oliver Postings said.
"The Ahuriri Estuary is one of the most significant bird habitats of its type on the east coast of the North Island."
More than 70 resident and migratory bird species feed and rest in the area, including the pied stilt.
"Over the years the Ahuriri Estuary bridge has been marred by vandalism and graffiti, so we're pleased to be able to brighten it up with beautiful artwork that truly reflects the area, including the birds that inhabit the estuary," Postings said.
Those who attended the special blessing were (as in the photograph L-R) artist Christie Wright, Hōri (George) Reti (kaumatua and chairman of Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui-a-Orotū), Vicki Butterworth from the Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Jennifer Wilson-Kaio (NZTA), Tania Eden (general manager, Te Taiwhenua o Te Whanganui-a-Orotū), Oliver Postings (NZTA) and Larry Weller (NZTA).