Before I die, what do I want to do?

This is the question a blackboard wall in Whangarei has asked, sparking some interesting responses.

After winning an $800 funding grant from Awesome Whangarei in June last year and putting in $450 of her own money, Philippa Ross has put up an interactive wall at the Town Basin with lines that read "Before I die I want to ... ".

"It gets people thinking," she said.


Ms Ross said after seeing the Before I Die project, kicked off by New Orleans artist Candy Chang who created an interactive wall on an abandoned house in her neighbourhood, she was inspired to do something similar in Whangarei.

"Because Northland has the highest level of suicide and with my background in psychology, it's about inspiring youngsters to have hope and dreams and give them something to look for," Ms Ross said.

While the Advocate reporter was at the wall two girls came along and asked what it was about.

One of them was Latoya Hood, who wrote that she wanted to make a change, and she said the wall was a "great idea".

"It definitely gets people to think. I was on (the Whangarei )Youth Summit and we wanted to do something similar asking people what they wanted to do and getting people to come and think about that," she said.

David Quirey and his wife Pam Quiery, who are both in their 70s, also came over for a look and said they had just started living. They said in life, love and happiness was important.

Before the couple die, they said they wanted to educate people about the world.

After Easter and the Artisans Fair is finished, Ms Ross wants the wall to go into schools. "The way it's designed it all comes to pieces. So after Easter, I'm going to invite high schools in the area to write to me why they want the wall ... so they can take it to their schools and promote that self worth."


-If you would like the wall in your school you can write to Ms Ross at

If you have a creative project that will make people smile, you can find out more about Awesome Whangarei at - its next round of funding ends April 31.